Referendum on Kashmir`s special status `not good`: Gadkari

Last Updated: Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 15:10

New Delhi: Opposing the recommendation for a referendum on autonomy and special status to terror-riven Jammu and Kashmir, Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) new president Nitin Gadkari Thursday said it was "not a good" suggestion.

"Whatever has been suggested is not a good recommendation," Gadkari told reporters in his first media conference after being nominated as the BJP president last week.
The BJP`s expected opposition came a day after the fifth working group on Jammu and Kashmir, announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, said the issue of retaining Article 370 - granting special status to the state - should be left to the people of the state to decide.

Regional parties like the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party and also Left parties, are strong advocates of retaining Article 370 and giving greater autonomy to the state. But the BJP has been vehemently opposing it and demanding abrogation of the article.

The working group chairman, retired Justice Sageer Ahmed of the Supreme Court, said Wednesday said it was for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide on "how long to continue with Article 370 in its present form and when to make it permanent or abrogate".
Sageer submitted his report to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in Jammu.

Gadkari said the working group had not met in the last two and a half years and the panel chairman was "not in a position" to decide due to the lack of consensus among panel members, which also included BJP`s Arun Jaitley.

Gadkari said his taking over as the BJP chief won`t change the party ideology even though he didn`t specify that the controversial article should be abrogated.

"My position is what the party`s ideology has been," he said.


First Published: Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 15:10

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