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Row over Narendra Modi`s call for Article 370 debate escalates

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 20:24

New Delhi: The row over Narendra Modi`s call for a debate on Article 370 of the Constitution escalated on Tuesday with BJP being accused of stoking "communal tension" for political gains and the saffron party saying it is not a "holy book" over which there cannot be any review.

As non-BJP parties try to corner Modi for his call on the constitutional provision that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah raised the pitch with a remark that if the BJP leader becomes Prime Minister even for "ten terms", he will not be able to repeal the measure.

"Even if Modi becomes PM ten times, he will not be able to do away with Article 370. You talk of debate, BJP does not indulge in any debate," Farooq told reporters here.

BJP hit out at those targeting its Prime Ministerial candidate and emphasised that no special Constitutional provisions are needed for J&K.

"This debate on Article 370 subsequent to Modi raising it in the Jammu rally revealed what people of Jammu and Kashmir are missing out on. This Article has been used as a shield to stop many of those great legislations which have been passed in the country from reaching J&K," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

But CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said J&K`s special status as provided by Article 370 is not a debatable issue but settled for all times to come.

"If there is a debate over it, it is being done to cause communal tension," the veteran communist leader said.

Congress leader and Union Minister Rajiv Shukla said BJP is creating an unwarranted row over an issue which has been there since 1947. "It`s totally unnecessary," he said.

Another BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Article 370 must be debated as people in J&K have "suffered" due to it.

"Has it become a holy book over which there cannot be a debate? These champions of secularism do not know the pain this Article has caused to people in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Article 370 has become a political crutch for them," he said.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy took exception to Farooq`s comments.

"I do not know which Constitution Farooq Abdullah is reading. In fact, the Constitution ensures that for repealing Article 370, you do not even need a Parliamentary vote... It requires the President to issue a notification, cancelling or quashing the article," he said.

First Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 20:24

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