Article 35A dominating political discourse in J&K

PDP president and another former CM Mehbooba Mufti, who has decided to contest from the volatile south Kashmir Lok Sabha seat, said there is a threat to Article 35A and they need a voice in Parliament and the “party thought I would fit the bill.” (PTI File Photo)

While five-phase parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir are scheduled to begin from April 11, the politically sensitive issue of Article 35A is dominating the discourse during the campaigning by political parties.
 
While the regional National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are trying to convince voters in the state that only they can safeguard Article 35A, that grants special rights to the people of J&K on owning property and getting jobs, the BJP is trying to win the sympathies of people by saying it is “constitutionally vulnerable” and also hampers the economic development of the state.
 
NC leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah during an election rally on Thursday said that the upcoming election is significant as it will decide the future course of action on Articles 370 and 35A, asserting that his party would ensure the protection of the two legislations “within and outside the courts.”
 
PDP president and another former CM Mehbooba Mufti, who has decided to contest from the volatile south Kashmir Lok Sabha seat, said there is a threat to Article 35A and they need a voice in Parliament and the “party thought I would fit the bill.”
 
To win back the sympathies of pro-separatist elements in the valley, Mehbooba, who governed the state in alliance with the BJP until they split last June, said an ongoing crackdown on militants and those supporting secession could further alienate the people.
 
On the other hand, BJP leaders are repeatedly saying that they will revoke Article 35A if voted to power, “as the law is temporary which can be removed and should be removed.”
 
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Thursday statement calling Article 35A "constitutionally vulnerable" and questioning its existence is sure going to raise the political temperature further in the restive Himalayan state.
 
The other issues confronting the state are security related as nearly three years since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing, Kashmir continues to face multiple challenges as there continues to be a perception gap between New Delhi and Srinagar on how to handle political and security issues. Prevailing circumstances indicate that New Delhi is likely to face an uphill task as it tries to improve the political situation in the Valley after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 
 
Developmental issues, concerning common man, have taken a back seat during the campaigning by political parties. The common man is not featuring much amid the poll din as the parties are more interested in slinging mud at the opponents.

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Article 35A dominating political discourse in J&K

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