Jammu, Aug 17: Claiming that Article 370 was included in the Constitution “through back door” by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, BJP leader Ram Madhav on Friday asserted that its nullification was a question of life and death for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and an emotional issue for the rest of the country.
“(The nullification) of Article 370 was an emotional issue for the rest of India while it was an issue of life and death for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir and that is why everyone in all three regions (of the state) is happy over the landmark decision and enjoying it like a festival,” said Ram Madhav.
The BJP leader made the assertion while speaking at a function here at the party headquarters to observe the first death anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during which he paid glowing tributes to the late leader.
The Article 370 was included in the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954, but President Ram Nath Kovind on August 5 issued a new order -- the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 -- superseding the 1954 order and making all provisions of the Indian constitution applicable to J&K, besides making all clauses of the old Article 370 inoperative.
A day later, the Parliament passed a resolution endorsing the 2019 presidential order and introduced a new clause 1 in the Article 370 to make Indian Constitution applicable to J&K.
Addressing the gathering at the party headquarters, Madhav said the Article 370 was included in the Constitution “through back door” and without any solid reason on Nehru’s direction.
The step was taken despite a national working committee of the Congress itself having negated the proposal, he added.
He said Nehru forced the first Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to incorporate Article 370 in the Constitution even as he was abroad at that time.
Madhav also blamed state’s former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah for choosing undemocratically, without consulting the people of the state, four members of the ‘Pratinidhi Sabha’ (J&K Constituent Assembly) set up to draft the J&K-related provisions to be incorporated in the Indian Constitution.
The BJP leader said “with the nullification of the Article 370, every Indian is happy and their uneasiness which had been pinching everyone since Independence, has been cured”.
Ram Madhav added that with nullification of the Article 370 through a presidential order endorsed by the Parliament, “every one has been left wondering as to what took so long to scrap the Article, when it could have been done so easily within the framework of the Indian Constitution long back.”
Madhav said many people lost their lives in the struggle for doing away with the Article 370 and exulted that “the unfinished agenda has been finished now after long history of hardwork and sacrifices”.
The BJP leader said after decades, the decision could be made with “strong conviction and willpower shown” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave “real shradhanjali to Atal ji on this day by this step”.
Madhav reiterated the government’s decision that Jammu & Kashmir has been given the Union territory’s status only for time being and its statehood would be restored after the return of the normalcy.
He also supported the government’s move to turn Jammu and Kashmir into a Union territory, citing security reasons and threats posed by the terrorists supported by Pakistan.
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