Row over abrogation of Article 35A: Mehbooba claims ‘support’ from PM

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given “100 per cent assurance” that he would back the PDP-BJP government’s Agenda of Alliance (AoA). Mufti claimed that the AoA says there will be “no fiddling” with Article 370.

Mehbooba, who was in the National Capital met the Prime Minister for about 15 minutes amid reports that she was seeking help against attempts to alter constitutional provisions that give special status to the state.

Mehbooba said the basis of the AoA between the PDP and the BJP is that there should be no “fiddling” with the status quo on Article 370.

“That is the basis of the agenda and no one can go against it. The response of the prime minister is positive. The prime minister gave 100 per cent assurance to the Agenda of Alliance,” she told reporters.

The meeting assumed significance in view of the raging debate about Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution guaranteeing special position to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Chief Minister brought to the notice of the Prime Minister the sentiments of the people of the State attached to the special position and also the apprehensions the debate of any abrogation of the same has created in their hearts and minds, an official spokesman said in Srinagar.

She informed the Prime Minister that such debates or demands have a very negative impact on the situational progress in the State which is steadily stabilizing after putting in lot of efforts by the State and Central Governments.

“Such debates and demands only vitiate the atmosphere in the State and the country as a result of which people suffer immensely”, the Chief Minister informed Modi, the spokesman added.

Terming Article 370 as the basis of constitutional relationship between the State and the Centre, Mehbooba Mufti informed Narendra Modi that the Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir acceded to the union of India rejecting the two nation theory and consequently due constitutional guarantees were provided to J&K protecting its regional aspirations and character.

“The need and urge for protecting and respecting this special status also got amply reflected during my recent interactions with leaders of several political parties in the State”, she informed the Prime Minister.

Responding positively to the concerns and apprehensions raised by the Chief Minister, the Prime Minister assured the Chief Minister that ‘Agenda of Alliance’ agreed upon between PDP and BJP should form the basis of any discussion on the State. He also reaffirmed the successful implementation of AoA in the State during the tenure of present Government.

Pertinently, regarding the special status of J&K, the Agenda of Alliance between PDP and BJP clearly states; “While recognizing the different positions and appreciating the perceptions BJP and PDP have on the constitutional status of J&K considering the political and legislative realities, the present position will be maintained on all the constitutional provisions pertaining to J&K including the special status in the Constitution of India.”

The Chief Minister had also met the union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh yesterday in this regard.

Pertinently, Mehbooba’s Delhi sojourn comes in the backdrop of the debate on Article 35A of the Constitution that grants special status to the state and is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

The chief minister said she had told the prime minister about the difficult situation in Jammu and Kashmir and also that the situation was improving gradually.

“People of Jammu and Kashmir feel that their identity will be in danger. A message should go that there is no such thing,” she said.

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