PM rules out restoring pre-1953 status to J&K
5 July 2000
Chennai: Ruling out the possibility of restoring the pre- 1953 status for Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today indicated that the Centre was prepared to consider more ''political and financial powers to the States''. In an informal chat with mediapersons at the Chennai airport after concluding his two-day visit here, Mr. Vajpayee said he had discussed the autonomy proposal with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, and explained that there was no question of going back to the pre-1953 status. ''If there are any demands which are to be considered by the Centre and if they demand more political and financial powers, there has to be a different method. But to talk of autonomy and to talk of going back to 1953 will never be accepted,'' the Prime Minister asserted. ''Not averse to discussion'' Asked whether Parliament would discuss the autonomy resolution, Mr. Vajpayee said, ''if any member brings forward a motion, there will be a discussion.'' Pointing out that the agenda of the National Democratic Alliance had promised more powers to the States, he said, ''some concrete steps have already been taken in terms of financial resources. If necessary more steps will be taken.'' Asked if he was hopeful of the National Conference remaining with the NDA, Mr. Vajpayee said: ''It is for the National Conference to decide.'' On the crisis in Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister ruled out any mediation by India between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. However, he said ''a way has to be found'' to solve the ethnic strife. Referring to the allies in the NDA, especially those from Tamil Nadu, speaking in different voices on the Sri Lankan issue, the Prime Minister said: ''I don''t think there are any problems which cannot be solved. I had a detailed discussion with various leaders and explained the policy of the NDA to the leaders. So, every problem will be solved amicably''. Before emplaning for Madurai en route to Tirunelveli, Mr. Vajpayee was seen off at the airport by the Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi. The MDMK general secretary, Mr. Vaiko, accompanied the Prime Minister.