Hoisting flag at Lal Chowk a sovereign right, says BJP

Hoisting flag at Lal Chowk a sovereign right, says BJP

"We are committed to a peaceful Ekta Yatra and we are going ahead with our programme (to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk).... political parties have a right to hoist the national flag," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told reporters.
He maintained that the government was objecting to hoisting of the national tricolour but had allowed separatists to air their views in the name of free speech.

While the BJP Yuva Morcha under the leadership of its president Anurag Thakur continues its march to Srinagar, the Central leadership has deputed its general secretaries and Jaitley to lead the campaign in Punjab and Jammu.

Two General Secretaries, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jai Prakash Nadda, will lead the campaign in Lakhanpur, on the Punjab-Jammu border, on January 24. In Jammu, Jaitley and General Secretary Ananth Kumar will lead the Yatra on January 25, which is being projected as a show of the youth wing.

The BJP will also hold rallies at Pathankot on January 24 and in Jammu on January 25.
Jaitley insisted that hoisting the national flag was a matter of sovereign right and raised larger issues like Pakistan's oft-repeated offer of demilitarising the area on both sides of Line of Control and giving it right to self-government under a joint control mechanism.
"Government has to come out with a statement on what former Pakistan Foreign Minister Kurshid Mahmud Kasuri and President Pervez Musharraf have been repeatedly saying for the last two years that there was a near consensus on demilitarisation and self-government on either side of LoC," Jaitley said.

The senior leader held that the UPA government has not come out with its opinion on this issue till now and should "either confirm or deny" whether there was consensus on it between the two governments.

"Track-II can be different from Track-I but cannot be dramatically opposed. Is this fact or propaganda? .... If this is even partly correct then it is a serious compromise on our sovereignty," Jaitley said.

He insisted that this offer from Pakistan was contrary to the Parliament resolution of 1994 which says Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India."Because of this attitude of the Central government, our concerns on Kashmir increase," Jaitley said.

On the on-going Ekta Yatra and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Omar Abdullah's appeal not to take it to Srinagar, Jaitley said, "Omar has given it more publicity (by opposing it)... But he has only been talking to the BJP." Meanwhile, BJP President Nitin Gadkari, who is on an official visit to China, issued a statement saying his party is willing to make any sacrifice for Jammu and Kashmir.

"It was here (Kashmir) that our ideologue, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee dedicated his life to uphold the true spirit of national integration. It has been the consistent position of India and also of the BJP that J&K, including PoK is an integral part of India," Gadkari said in his statement.

"The party is willing to make any sacrifice to ensure that J & K remains an integral part of India," he added.

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