Rajkot: Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today said that when people of Jammu and Kashmir ask for “azadi”, most of them mean they want greater autonomy.
Chidambaram, a former home minister, who has in the past advocated greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, today reiterated that the state should be given more powers under Article 370 of the Constitution.
“Yes, I do,” Chidambaram said when he was asked if he still thinks that Jammu and Kashmir should be given greater autonomy.
“The demand in the Kashmir Valley is to respect the letter and spirit of Article 370, that means they want greater autonomy. My interactions in J&K led me to the conclusion that when they ask for azadi, mostly, I am not saying all… the overwhelming majority, they want autonomy,” he said.
“Therefore, I think that we should seriously examine that question and consider in what areas we can give autonomy to J&K,” he said.
“It’s (autonomy) perfectly within the Constitution of India. Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India but it will have larger powers as promised under Article 370,” he said.
Chidambaram had in July 2016 advocated greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.
He had said India should restore the “grand bargain” under which Kashmir had acceded by granting a large degree of autonomy to it. He had warned that otherwise the country will have to pay a “heavy price”.