Union minister Shashi Tharoor today rejected the demand for a debate on Article 370 saying its continuation in Jammu and Kashmir lies in the hands of elected representatives of the border state.
"In my view, there is no need for any debate on Article 370. This provision will remain intact till the time democratically elected leaders of Jammu and Kashmir want to continue it," he said on the sidelines of a function here.
The call for debate was given by BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who questioned whether the special provision for Jammu and Kashmir has benefited its people. Tharoor, the minister of state for HRD, cited Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's statement that Article 370 is like a bridge between Delhi and the state.
Interestingly, Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar had recently appeared to have endorsed Modi's demand for a debate, saying the article is discriminating towards women in J&K.
When asked to comment about his wife's statement on the issue, Tharoor replied, "My wife has raised the gender issue as a woman and as a Kashmiri. There is the need for a debate on the gender issue and not on the Article 370." The women have right to raise their voice for their own interests and men should respect it, he said.
On the "sexist" comment made by his ministerial colleague Farooq Abdullah, Tharoor said, "The main question is how you behave with your women colleagues at work. We must get used to and know how to work with women professionals at place of work."