New Delhi: The BJP released its Lok Sabha election manifesto earlier on Monday, leading to strong reactions from the Opposition. The latest outburst comes from National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah who just couldn’t seem to wrap his head around the idea of abrogation of Article 370 as also the annulment of Article 35a, as promised in the BJP manifesto. (Catch LIVE Updates of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Here)
While Article 370 gives an autonomous status to Jammu-Kashmir, Article 35a empowers the J&K legislature to define “permanent resident” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to permanent residents. In effect, Article 35a excludes non-permanent residents from getting state government jobs, buying property in the state, settlement there and even a right to scholarships or any such aid from the state government.
Reacting to the BJP’s poll promise, the former chief minister of J&K said, “Bahar se laenge, basaenge, humaare number kam karenge aur hum sote rahenge? Hum iska muqabala karenge, 370 ko kaise khatam karoge? Allah ki kasam kehta hun, Allah ko yahi manzoor hoga,hum inse azad ho jayen.Karein, hum bhi dekhte hain. Dekhta hun phir kaun inka jhanda khada karne ke liye taiyar hoga. (So you will get outsiders and let them settle here, bring our number down and you think we will sleep through it all? We will contest it. And how will you repeal Article 370? I swear to God… maybe even He wants us to be free from them. Let them do what they please. I will also see who supports them, who will be willing to hoist their flag).”
The BJP manifesto pointed out that Article 35a was discriminatory against non-permanent residents and the women of the state. However, the Congress also slammed the document and said the BJP should probably issue a maafinaama (apology) even as the latter claimed it was moving forward with one mission, one direction and wanted to go about it in a time-bound manner.