Article 370 returns to ‘haunt’ PDP-BJP again

Article 370 returns to ‘haunt’ PDP-BJP again
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Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, Feb 20: The coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party have once again started talking about the Article 370, due to which citizens of J&K enjoy special status.
Minister of state in Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Jitendra Singh on Monday said that Jammu and Kashmir’s ‘special status’ was creating serious hurdles for flow of investments, and is a major impediment in state’s development.
“At national and international level we conduct many summits but a trader invests only after calculating his profit and gain, not by political appeals and statements,” Dr Singh said.
PDP senior Vice- President Sartaj Madni said Jammu and Kashmir is enjoying the special status as per constitution and its Muslim majority character is a recognized historical reality.
He said the state also has a separate constitution, which symbolizes its unique position in the Indian union.
Madni said PDP is duty bound and committed to safeguard this special status of the State from any assault and that it has been striving since its inception to protect state’s unique identity and status as its moral duty.
An analyst, while reacting to the statements of senior BJP and PDP leaders, said, “Both the parties have different stands and perceptions on Article 370. For BJP Article 370 is a hurdle. For PDP it’s a bridge between New Delhi and Kashmir. Almost all Kashmir based politicians swear by Article 370 and vow to defend it.”
He said, “As the 2019 parliamentary elections are approaching. We may see more debates over Article 370 in coming days. Article 370 has always remained the election plank for the BJP and its abrogation has been at the top of its agenda.”
He said when PDP and BJP joined hands in Jammu and Kashmir to form the government both the parties decided to shelve the controversial issues. “Now the elections are coming near and there is every possibility about controversial issues coming to fore again. BJP cannot afford to remain silent on Article 370 and PDP on the other hand would try its best to ensure that no damage is done to the Article till it remains in the power. The PDP knows it very well that any compromise on Article 370 could lead to party losing its base in Kashmir,” the analyst added.
A Kashmir watcher said, “Nobody can deny the fact that PDP and BJP are north and south poles. It’s obvious that both the parties have different ideologies. They still have three years to go. Bothe the parties should focus on governance part rather than raking up the issues which would lead to controversies.”