Jammu: Congress on Wednesday accused BJP of "backtracking" on its core issue of scrapping Article 370 and hit out at Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, saying he cannot change "even a comma" in the Constitutional provision as it can be done only by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.
"BJP is backtracking on its core issue of Article 370. Why have they sent Article 370 to cold storage during the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir," senior Congress leader Ambika Soni told PTI here tonight.
Soni, who is in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir, said, "It was their core issue. BJP has shunned this issue in Assembly polls. This is for people to take notice of," she said.
Taking a dig at Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's remark that Article 370 was a matter of a debate, she said, "Singh can hold as many debates as he likes, but he cannot even change a comma or full spot of it (Article 370). It can be done only by state Assembly."
Soni was reacting to Rajnath Singh's today's statement at a public meeting in Paddar and Bhaderwah that the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution is a national issue and should not be raked up during Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
"It (Article 370) is (a) national issue. It is debatable. BJP's stand on it is clear. There is no need to rake up this issue during Assembly polls...," Singh said at a public meeting in remote Paddar belt of Kishtwar district.
Addressing a rally in Bhaderwah, Singh said, "The Assembly elections are not the right platform to debate on this issue (abrogation of Article 370)".
"Article 370 is a national issue which has to be debated at the national level... The people from Jammu and Kashmir too have the right to discuss this issue," he said.
Singh, who is campaigning in support of his party candidates Sunil Sharma in Kishtwar Assembly seat and Daleep Kumar in Bhaderwah, asked political parties not to rake up the issue during Assembly elections for vote bank politics.
Soni also accused BJP of having "secret" parlays with separatists in Kashmir.
"They are fooling people of country by secret parlays. Totally unfair and under-the-table activities. They were criticising Congress for even holding transparent and in-public peace initiatives, including roping in Hurriyat", she said.
"The way they are doing it is shameful and I condemn it," Soni said.