National Conference Jammu provincial president Devender Singh Rana addresses the media in Jammu. Tribune photo
The National Conference (NC) today accused Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of being “hand in glove” with the BJP and other affiliates of the RSS to strike down Article 35A and threatened to “mount united and strong opposition” to defend the state’s special status. “Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was hand in glove with the BJP and other affiliates of the RSS in concerted efforts to strike down Article 35A and revoke the state’s special status,” two senior NC leaders said in a joint statement. NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar and its provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani also warned that the opposition party would “not hesitate to protest in every nook and corner” of the state if the PDP-BJP government continued with its “nefarious plan to attack the state’s special status.” The possibility of scrapping of Article 35A has united the parties across the political divide in the region with mainstream as well as separatist groups issuing threats and warning of protests in defence of the state’s special status. “We are reaching out and spreading awareness about the disastrous repercussions of any misadventure on Article 35A and will work with civil society groups, traders’ associations and all like-minded organisations to mount a united and strong opposition to such evil designs by the Mehbooba Mufti government,” the duo warned. The two leaders accused the Chief Minister of making a “wishy-washy claim of getting an alleged assurance” from the Prime Minister. They said the Mehbooba’s claim “stood exposed as a brazen lie by senior BJP leaders who have gone on record to say that there has been no change in the BJP’s total and complete opposition to Article 35A and Article 370.” “Post Mehbooba Mufti’s meeting with the Prime Minister, senior BJP functionaries have made it abundantly clear that the BJP will continue to actively seek ways and means to strike down Article 35A and there had been no change in their stand on the issue,” the NC leaders said. “This has yet again exposed Mehbooba and her party and their inexhaustible reservoir of lies,” the duo said in the statement. The NC leaders accused the PDP-led state government of being used as “a political vehicle for the constitutional erosion of J&K’s special status.” “It is Mehbooba Mufti and the PDP who have facilitated this assault on Article 35A. PDP’s Agenda of the Alliance has been thrown into the dustbin by the BJP,” they said. ‘35A protects interests of state residents’
- Addressing a press conference in Jammu on Saturday, Rana said the state was at the crossroads of history where some people wanted to revoke Article 35A which was brought by last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh to protect the interest of people of the state and Dogras.
- “It was the farsightedness of the great leader who introduced the state subject law to protect the people of J&K from Punjabi businessmen who were settling here and taking the jobs,” Rana said, adding that if Article 35A was scrapped, people from Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the country would come here and snatch jobs from the youth.
- He said if Article 35A was abrogated, it would put a question mark on all presidential orders till date.