Does the Narendra Modi government have the power to remove Article 370 of the Constitution?
Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina Sunday said his party is for early abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution.
He also exhorted confidence that the BJP will form the next government in the state on its own.
Raina said his party will work for defreezing of the eight assembly seats reserved for refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and revoking of the cumbersome M-Form exercise for Kashmiri migrant pandits before the next assembly polls.
"Article 370, a temporary transititional provision, is the biggest injustice with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, while the Article 35A is a constitutional blunder which was included through back door without the consent of Parliament and the president...We wish the early abrogation of both these constitutional provisions," Raina told reporters here.
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.
On Friday, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot remove Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution.
"Let him be as powerful as he (Modi) likes, he cannot remove Article 370 and Article 35A (from the state of Jammu and Kashmir)," Abdullah had said, adding "our right of Article 370 and Article 35-A should be protected. This is very important for us. We are soldiers of this country, not enemies".
Accusing Kashmir-based politicians of "misleading" the people of the state on these articles, Raina said Article 370 is a "wall of hatred" and the main reason for the prevailing situation in the Jammu and Kashmir.
"Both the provisions have to go. Article 35A is discriminatory in nature as Omar Abdullah (former chief minister) if marries outside the state, his wife is entitled to various rights under these articles but when her sister Sara married Sachin pilot, she lost all her rights over property in the state," he said.
Raina said the BJP from the days of the Jana Sang and the Praja Parishad under the leadership of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and others fought against these articles of the Constitution which are "not good for the state".
"Due to these articles, near about 100 families have looted all other families of the state for decades together," he alleged.
Buoyed by the success of retaining the three Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Ladakh regions, Raina exhorted confidence that the BJP will win the upcoming assembly polls in the state with a "thumping majority".
"With the bumper support, the masses have made it clear that the BJP is going to win more than 50 seats in the next Assembly elections and will form the next government on its own strength. The next chief minister will be of the BJP," he said.
When his attention was drawn towards the BJP dominating only in 28 assembly seats in the just concluded parliamentary elections and the possibility of coalition with any other party, he said, "I am hopeful that the BJP will get the clear mandate like Prime Minister Narendra Modi who returned to power with a landslide victory."
"There are at least six more months or whatever the Election Commission decides before the Assembly polls, we will make all our effort. Kashmiri migrant pandits have to undergo cumbersome process of filing M-Forms to participate in the elections. If they had no such formality, I believe that Abdullah would have lost his security deposit and only BJP had won across the state," he said.
Terming the M-form formality for the migrants to vote as a "rider" introduced by the Kashmir-based parties to keep them away from voting, he said the BJP is committed to take up this issue at every level so that every Kashmiri migrant pandit is able to cast his or her vote without any problem.
Similarly, he said, there are 24 seats reserved for PoK and the parts under the illegal occupation of China in Jammu and Kashmir assembly.
The BJP would work to ensure defreezing of eight such seats for the refugees living in the state before the assembly polls, Raina said.
"One-third of the population of POJK had migrated to this side in 1947 and need to be given the eight seats reserved for them. We demand that the assembly segments be identified so that they can represent their community in the state assembly," he said.
On the kiling of Surendra Singh, a close aide of BJP leader Smriti Irani, in Uttar Pradesh, Raina said any political killing is condemnable as politics is a battle of ideologies.
"After facing a drubbing at the hands of Irani, the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi is frustrated. We demand a probe into the incident so that the guilty is punished," he said.
"We have seen in Jammu and Kashmir that such incidents are carried out by anti-national elements at the behest of Pakistan," he added.