The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that the party has no objection to Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir if it helps the border State in carrying on with the development.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a very serious, very sensitive region for us. If the State develops because of Article 370, then we have no objection in keeping it,’’ he said while delivering inaugural address at the two-day National Council meet of the party at the Ramlila Ground in Delhi.
However, Mr. Singh qualified his remarks by saying if Article 370 was a ‘conspiracy’ to stop the State from joining Indian mainstream, then his party would not accept it. “Due to its weak policies and Article 370, Congress has kept Jammu and Kashmir away from the mainstream of development in the country,’’ he added.
Reiterating that Jammu and Kashmir remained an integral part of India, Mr. Singh said the party was against giving leverage to any anti-national elements. “We are resolute in getting development to the poor population of Kashmir, which they lack even after 67 years of independence,’’ he said.
Last month BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, addressing his maiden rally in Jammu and Kashmir, had called for a debate on Article 370, leading to a war of words. Mainstream Jammu and Kashmir parties and separatist organisations had called Mr. Modi’s statement as “unwarranted and unacceptable.’’
BJP was quick in clarifying that Mr. Modi had not softened the party’s stand on Jammu and Kashmir since it has been demanding repeal of the Article 370.
Dwelling upon the internal and external security, he faulted the UPA government’s ‘misguided and clueless’ policies for weakening and compromising both the crucial fronts. He hit out at the Congress for playing vote bank politics on the issue terrorism that has blunted the edge of the security forces in the war against terror.