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‘Authorised persons’ dealing with Art 370, AFSPA: Singh

BJP, which was reportedly in talks with PDP over government-formation in Jammu & Kashmir, said on Sunday “authorized persons” are dealing with the controversial issues like Article 370 and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

Jitendra Singh, a senior leader from J&K and Union minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, however, did not elaborate, saying the political situation is “fluid”.

He insisted that BJP will have a crucial role to play in any government that is formed in the state.
“The situation there (in J&K) is fluid and the party leadership is dealing with it,” he told PTI in an interview.

Singh did not reveal with whom his party is trying to ally with in the state but there have been reports that it is in touch with PDP for firming up a coalition government.  PDP is the single largest party with 28 seats in the 87-member assembly while BJP has 25 seats.

“Whatever be the future dispensation, BJP will have a crucial role to play”, he said, adding that his party has “emerged as a force to reckon with” in the state.

“BJP has made a history (by winning 25 seats in the state),” he said.  On the controversial issues of Article 370 and AFSPA which are said to stand in the way of talks between BJP and PDP, Singh said “authorized persons” are already dealing with it.

“I will not like to comment. Not at this stage because the issue of government formation in Jammu & Kashmir is at the fluid stage and the authorized person are already dealing with it (AFSPA and on Article 370). So any comments from my side may not be compatible which is going on,” he said.

BJP and PDP have contradictory positions on Article 370, which grants special status to the state. While BJP is for abrogation of the Article, PDP is against it.

Similarly, the two parties have different positions on AFSPA. While PDP wants its revocation, BJP is against it.  Singh, after taking over as the minister in May last year, had stoked a controversy by saying that the Narendra Modi government was open to debate on merits and demerits of Article 370 for Jammu & Kashmir and would make efforts to “convince” the “unconvinced” by holding contact programmes with every section of society in the state.
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