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BJP executes Narendra Modi's idea; initiates Article 370 debate

Tuesday, 19 August 2014 - 5:55am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

The government may have fallen silent on Article 370, which grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, but the BJP has started a debate ahead of assembly polls in the state on what this article has achieved.

After the Modi government came to power, remarks by minister of state in PMO Jitender Singh that the government was open to debating Article 370, sparked sharp reactions.

When a question came up in the Lok Sabha last month on whether the government planned to repeal Article 370, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had said "no".

But the BJP's debate is on the line of questioning proposed by the party's then PM candidate and now prime minister Narendra Modi. At a rally in Jammu in December, Modi had suggested that it should be probed whether Article 370 has indeed benefited the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

"The purpose is not to see whether the Article should be abrogated. It is to discuss what this Article has given to the state and what it has taken away from it," said Raman Malik, co-convenor of the BJP's communication cell and the brainchild behind the debate. The debate will also seek to find out if Article 370 was meant to be permanent or temporary, what did it cost the country and to what effect, he said.

Party sources said the debate has already started at various levels. An email invite to join the Article 370 debate has been sent to over 1,000 people; these are not only people from the state but people from all walks of life. The mail specifies that "inappropriate language" should not be used against anyone. Once the exercise is over, before the assembly election, the BJP's communication cell will author a white paper on the issue. Malik said the white paper will be sent to the Union home ministry and J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Tossing the matter
In its election manifesto, the BJP has said it is in favour of abrogating Article 370, but said the issue will be discussed with all stakeholders before a decision is made.
Whether Article 370 has benefit the people of Jammu & Kashmir or not must be probed, Modi had proposed in December 2013 in
BJP's communication cell has now started a debate on this issue and also to see if the provisions of the Article mandate that J&K's special status should be temporary or permanent.

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