J&K polls: BJP won't make Article 370 a poll issue, says Rajnath
New Delhi: BJP will not make the abrogation of Article 370 an election issue in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today indicated even as he said that attempts were being made by rival parties to create fear psychosis over the matter.
“As elections in Jammu and Kashmir are round the corner, there is an attempt to create a sense of fear by our political opponents. We want to say, ‘why are you trying raise the issue (Art. 370 of the Constitution) during Assembly polls?'. In Assembly elections, the issues which should come are good governance, development, etc.,” Singh said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
The Home Minister at the same time said BJP believes that there should be a debate on the utility of Art. 370 -- which grants special status to J-K—within the state and across the country.
“Our party believes that there should be a debate on Art. 370. We believe that due to Art. 370, Jammu and Kashmir is not getting any benefit. I want, our party wants, our government wants that there should be debate on Art. 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (and) in the whole country,” he said. Singh said that in a democracy, there should be a debate on each and every issue.
“Some times, there is a need for debate. We have said there should be a debate on Art. 370. People should discuss what are the advantages, what are the disadvantages,” he said. The five-phased Assembly elections in J-K will begin on Nov. 25.
Meanwhile, asked whether there was any initiative for the phased withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J-K, Singh said no decision has been taken on that yet and the NDA government would like to wait for some time to watch the situation on the ground.
“As far as AFSPA is concerned, we want to wait for some more time. We will see. We want to normalise the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. As of now, there is no decision for withdrawal of AFSPA. We will see in the future,” he said.