Parties in J&K make tactical shifts on key issues

Under the shadow of militancy: BJP manifesto makes no mention of Article 370 abrogation

Parties in J&K make tactical shifts on key issues

The four major political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, which are battling it out in the elections to the 87-member Assembly, have now made tactical shifts in their stands on various subjects to woo voters.

Through their manifestos, the BJP, Congress, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) have taken strong stands on key issues.

The BJP’s campaign has focused on a corruption-free, dynasty-free and development-oriented Jammu and Kashmir, but the party has, even in its manifestio, made no mention on the revocation of Article 370—an issue that has always been high on its agenda. Now, the right-wing party’s focus is on getting the magic figure of 44 in the House to form a majority.

The Congress, meanwhile, has taken steps to counter the BJP’s perceivable influence in the Hindu-dominated areas of Jammu. It has targeted the Muslim areas in the region, promising seperate councils for Pir Panjal and Chenab Valleys, as well as development councils in the hilly areas.

The Congress has also assured the people that it would intoduce a bill to constitute a commission for the delimitation of Assembly constituencies, an exercise that has not been done for 18 years. It has pointed that the NC and PDP had opposed the move to bring such a legislation when Ghulam Nabi Azad was chief minister between 2005 and 2009.

The NC and PDP have stuck to their pro-Kashmir planks and want Aritcle 370 to be retained and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) revoked. The two parties, however, have minced no words in blaming each other and the Central government for failures in the state.

The opposition PDP manifesto states that the party would pursue the self-rule framework for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and other issues confronting the state.
It says it would use Article 370 to restore the original special status of the state, asserting that this provision in the Constitution of India was to empower the people and help deal with the issues of identity, borders and governance.

On AFSPA, the manifesto says the party would “review” the Disturbed Areas Act to “pave the way for revocation”.The ruling NC manifesto says that the party would oppose any move to abrogate and tamper with Article 370.

It also reiterates that restoration of autonomy is the only “viable solution” to the Kashmir problem.

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