Talks with NC only on devolution, says BJP
11 July 2000
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party today reiterated that the Cabinet decision rejecting the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly autonomy resolution was ''final'' and a dialogue with the National Conference could be held only in the context of devolution of more powers to States. The general secretary, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, addressing reporters, rejected the Law Minister, Mr. Ram Jethmalani''s suggestion that although there was no question of Jammu and Kashmir going back to the pre-1953 status, the Centre could think of amending the Union list, that is, transferring some more subjects transferred to the State list. ''Our stand is that there cannot be a State within a State. We are willing to discuss devolution of powers. The BJP and the NC are both part of the same Government, but there is an honest difference of opinion,'' Mr. Naidu said. At the same time, he made it clear that ''nobody in the BJP had suggested that the National Democratic Alliance does not need the NC''. The BJP wanted to make it clear that in the context of Kashmir the twin job that had to be focussed on by the Centre and the State was countering militancy and accelerating development.