The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP on Saturday claimed that the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions want immediate removal of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution by voting for the party. It also said the National Conference’s claim that it will form the government on its own in the state after the assembly elections is “hollow”. The BJP retained Udhampur, Jammu and Ladakh parliamentary seats, while the NC swept the polls by winning all the three seats — Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag — in the Valley.
On Friday, NC president Farooq Abdullah had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot remove Article 35A and Article 370 despite huge majority. “Let him be as powerful as he (Modi) likes, he cannot remove Article 370 and Article 35-A,” Abdullah had said, adding “our right of Article 370 and Article 35A should be protected. This is very important for us. We are soldiers of this country, not enemies”.
Article 370 grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s power to make laws concerning the state. Article 35A empowers the state assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges on them.
BJP state spokesperson Brig (Retd) Anil Gupta said, “Abdullah and the NC leadership does not have the mandate of the people of Jammu and Ladakh to make tall claims about Articles 35A and 370 because the people of these two regions want immediate removal of these articles as is evident from the mandate given in favour of their removal.” He said the assembly constituency wise analysis of polling pattern in the just concluded parliamentary elections established beyond doubt that the regional party’s claim that it will form the next government in the state on its own is “hollow”.
“The NC has won in 30 assembly constituencies, all in Kashmir, mostly due to low voter turnout. The margin of victory is also very narrow in many constituencies. It has clean swept the Srinagar parliamentary constituency by winning in all 15 assembly constituencies. “The party has zero representation from both Jammu and Ladakh regions. The NC surrendered without contest in both the regions because it failed to find suitable candidates. Its ploy of a ‘mahagathbandhan’ (alliance) to defeat the BJP in these regions failed miserably going by the huge margin of victory in favour of us in the three parliamentary seats allotted to Congress in the garb of unity of self-proclaimed secular parties,” Gupta said.
The BJP leader said the NC leadership needs to explain how it plans to form the government on its own with lead in just 30 assembly constituencies. “The confidence exuded by these leaders is good to raise the sagging morale of its cadre but woefully inadequate to form the next state government on its own,” he said.
Gupta said the BJP’s vote share of 46.4 per cent in these elections is more than the combined vote share of the NC, the Congress and the PDP together. “The Congress has a vote share of 28.5 per cent, followed by NC 7.9 per cent and PDP 3.3 per cent,” he said. Gupta also asked Abdullah to clarify as to how he proposes to restore peace in the state when his party wants to repeal the Public Safety Act, remove the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, demands withdrawal of the Army, wants ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeM) to be lifted and ‘Operation All Out’ to be called off. “Can peace be restored without eliminating the terror and the over ground terror network? Abdullah needs to clarify?” he asked.