Politics of Article 370 Jitendra Singh has only reiterated BJP’s real agenda and intensions


On the very first day of assuming office as a Union minister of state in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, representing the Udhampur parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha, has stirred hornet’s net by saying that the process for abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India has started and that the BJP is speaking to all stakeholders in this regard,. While the separate leadership said that Article 370 was not an issue for them the mainstream political parties – National Conference, PDP and Congress reacted sharply to the minister’s statement. The controversy refuses to die even after the minister said thathe was misquoted. “I have never said any thing quoting the Prime Minister,” he clarified. The controversy is totally meaningless and quite misplaced. Most vociferous has been the National Conference with Omar Abdulah describing Singh’s statement as most irresponsible and even warning that “either J&K won’t be part of India or Article 370 will still exist”. PDP too raised its voice against Jitendra Singh’s statement asking the Prime Minister to rein in his minister of state.

On the face of it there is nothing surprising or unexpected what the minister of state said as he simply restated the BJP’s stand on this vital issue and revealed the ruling party’s real intentions of going in for the repeal of this constitutional provision which according to it is discriminatory in nature and threatens the integrity of the country. Omar Abdullah’s fuming and fretting over this issue only exposes his and his party’s hypocrisy and doublespeak. The abrogation of Article 370 along with twoother contentious issues of Ram temple at Ayodhya and Common Civil Code were important features of the BJP’s election manifesto for 1999 election for Lok Sabha. Still the NC headed by Farooq Abdullah entered into an alliance with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with Omar securing a berth in the Union council of ministers as a minister of state. He continued to serve that government till 2004 despite the anti-Muslim pogrom engineered and executed by Narendra Modi-led BJP Government in Gujarat in 2002.

The BJP had made its intentions to abrogate Article 370 very clear. It had not abandoned its agenda in this regard but had only kept it on back burner till the party came to power on its own. The party’s poll manifesto for 2014 too contained the three contentious issues. Having secured majority on its own in Lok Sabha, BJP is only planning to do what it had been including in its poll manifestos since 1999 and what the Sangh Parivar had been saying ever since the provision of Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution.

In fact the Sangh Parivar has been agitating for complete integration of J&K with India ever since the Instrument of Accession was signed with the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal making categorical commitment that the accession will be limited to three subjects of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications and that it will be ratified by the people when peace prevailed. Neither of the two commitments were honoured by