BJP using Article 370 to garner votes for J&K polls: Congress
Srinagar: BJP is raking up the issue of revoking Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, to garner votes in the upcoming Assembly polls in the state, Congress said on Monday. "Article 370 is an issue used for garnering votes. They (BJP) used other issues for Lok Sabha polls, now they are using Article 370 with an eye on votes from Jammu region," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters here. Azad along with AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni is here to hold consultation with Congress leaders and workers to review the party`s functioning ahead of the Assembly polls to be held later this year. "I have been hearing this rant about Article 370 since I was born. Atal Behari Vajpayee was the tallest leader to emerge from BJP, by becoming the Prime Minister, one does not become a tall leader, he also could not do anything about Article 370," said Azad, who is Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. Azad appealed to BJP leaders to exercise caution while making statements, saying Jammu and Kashmir is a "very sensitive state". "It would take them (BJP) one to two years to understand Kashmir and its dynamics. It is not enough to go through the history of Kashmir or the government files about the state. The sentiment of the people will have to be understood," the Congress leader said. Soon after taking oath last month, Minister of State in Prime Minister`s Office Jitendra Singh had said talks with stakeholders on revoking the Article have been started, leading to sharp reactions from several political parties within the Valley and rest of the country. On the steps initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s government for return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley, Azad said it was not for the first time such steps have been started. "He (Modi) is not the first person to initiate measures for return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley. There is no one, whether from mainstream or outside, who is opposed to return of Kashmiri Pandits. Everyone is saying they are welcome to return. "During my term as Chief Minister (of the state), the Centre had given a package under which we constructed some dwellings in Jammu and Budgam," he added. On the reports that the Centre was mulling setting up three separate cities of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, Azad said it must hold deliberations with elected government of the state before taking any step in this regard.
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