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Cong, BJP fight it out over Modi’s remarks on Article 370

His other remarks that women of Jammu and Kashmir are discriminated when they lose their rights of inheritance if they marry outside the state was also rebutted by mainstream parties in the state.
BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj said it would be incorrect to interpret Modi’s demand for a debate as a ‘softening’ of the party’s stand on Article 370.

The Gujarat chief minister, who in his speech at the Jammu rally on Sunday sought a debate on Article 370 whether it has been beneficial to the state or not, and came under attack from mainstream parties and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday said it should be a ‘rational’ debate.

‘We need rational & focused debate not only on 370 but other issues relating to J&K, including suffering of sections of J&K society,’ Modi said on Twitter.

Seeking to take credit for raising the issue, he said, ‘Glad that after my call for a debate on Article 370, it is being widely debated among people & across TV, social media.’ The mainstream parties, including National Conference, PDP and CPI-M, have attacked Modi for raking up ‘divisive’ issues and said that Article 370 cannot be amended even by the Constitution because of its ‘permanent’ nature.

Criticising Modi, Omar Abdullah said Article 370 and state subject laws were completely different and attacked Modi for creating confusion between the two.

‘My problem is not the misinformation about this law. It will take some time to percolate across the country. My problem is with people like Narendra Modi who knowingly or unknowingly seek to sort of join Article 370 without State subject laws...,’ he said.

‘Not so long ago when he came to Madhopur, the border between Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, he called for a full revocation of Article 370. What he says in J and K and what he says in the rest of country, we will have to see. I will wait and see what the BJP puts in its election manifesto.

‘Article 370 determines the relation between the Centre and State. It is the bridge that joins Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country. Our state subject laws are our own. The state subject law as it exists on Monday is not even a post-independence product. It is a pre-Independence product,’ Omar said.

He, however, did not give a direct answer to a question on women being discriminated against in the state and about a new law being brought in this regard. PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said that Modi’s comments can create ‘fissures’ within the state besides increasing trust deficit between the state and rest of the country.

Meanwhile, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar also slammed BJP for raking up the issue terming it as part of an effort to again ‘draw a line of division’. ‘Article 370 is given to Jammu and Kashmir in view of the special condition of the border state and the people of the country have accepted this,’ Kumar told reporters.

‘Raking up the issue is nothing but an attempt to again draw a line of division in the country,’ Kumar said in an apparent attack on his rival Narendra Modi.

‘I am a supporter of Article 370 for state of Jammu and Kashmir...there is neither a need for debate on the subject nor any need for changing it,’ he said emerging from ‘Janata Ke darbar me Mukhya Mantri’ programme at his residence.
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