The row sparked by Narendra Modi's comments on Article 370 today saw BJP contending that it is not a "holy book" over which there can be no debate, while its rivals accused the party of stoking "communal tension" for political gains.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said Jammu and Kashmir's special status, which is provided by Article 370 of the Constitution, 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. However, BJP leaders said the Article 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," party's spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Another BJP leader, Subramanian Swamy, took exception to National Conference president and Cabinet Minister Farooq Abdullah's comments that Modi cannot repeal Article 370 even if he becomes Prime Minister for 10 terms. "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.