External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday criticised Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for saying there should be a debate on the pros and cons of Article 370 of the Constitution.
“I don’t understand what debate is he asking for on Article 370. When the chief minister presented his view on Article 370, the BJP immediately started criticizing him. Is it a way to debate? The idea of a debate is to put your views in front, and then you let the public judge it,” Khurshid said.
“Modi is living in a different time and world. You cannot talk about the future, when you yourself are living in the past. I don’t think there is anything left to say about him now,” he said.
He further added, “Article 370 has a very serious and important history. It is part of an overall efforts made by India, not just in Kashmir alone but in different parts of the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable and confident. If they have any reservation and doubt about the ability to live their lives with some sense of freedom in the country, then we should give them that comfort. I cannot buy land in any other state or in the tribal belt of the country because we have to preserve some local flavor and have to ensure that people coming from different parts of the country does not ruin it. This is the reasonable and logical balance.
“But where is the debate? The CM (Omar) of the state puts forward his views on the topic; he is immediately run down by the BJP. He is also an elected leader of a state and therefore has a right to put forward his views,” he said in defence of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who took on Modi via twitter.
“I challenge him or any of his minions to reproduce verbatim the section of Article 370 that determines the J&K state subject law,” Omar had tweeted.
On Sunday, Modi in his ‘Lalkar’ rally in Jammu, had said there should be a thorough debate on issue of Article 370, which gives special and autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He also made a reference to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, saying: “Nehru had said that in the future, the importance of Article 370 will fade out.
Criticizing the Congress, he said: “The Congress has sown the seeds of a ‘separate state but the BJP Government will transform Jammu and Kashmir into one of the super states of the country.”