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No dilution in BJP stand on Article 370, says Arun Jaitley

Thursday, 23 January 2014 - 8:53pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Weeks after Narendra Modi advocated a debate on Article 370, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday said there is no dilution of party stand that the provision which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir should be scrapped.

He said a debate was needed to assess whether it has caused harm or provided benefits.

Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said the Article 370 is the root cause of the feeling of separatism in Kashmir valley and BJP wanted that there must be a debate over its profits and loss.

"We want a historical assessment of the Article. Whether it has caused benefits or harm. It is our misfortune that when a leader of our party says its impact should be evaluated, our friends in media call it a dilution of our stand and we are ready to reassess it," he said at a conference on Article 370 here.

Modi, while addressing a rally in Jammu last month, had said there should be a debate on Article 370. This was seen as a bit of softening in BJP's hard stand that the Article should be completely abrogated.

Recognising that repealing the Article involves legal complications, Modi said its impact, however, can be "diluted into extinction". He did not elaborate.

"One day, this Article will have to go. There are so many legal complications involved in repealing it that it depends on political thought. Ideally, it should be deleted because it was a temporary, transitory provision... The government still has flexibility to dilute it. A large part of the impact of Article 370 can be diluted into extinction," he said.

Asked by PTI later if his party still stands for its repeal, Jaitley replied, "It always does".

Questioned why then BJP wants a debate, he said, "So that we can tell you why it should be repealed".


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