J&K Polls: BJP Manifesto Not To Include Abrogation Of Article 370

1 September 2014
The Indian Express
Pragya Kaushika

New Delhi: The BJP has decided not to include the abrogation of Article 370, which accords a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, in its electoral manifesto for the upcoming state Assembly polls. This despite the fact that the party had, as recently as the Lok Sabha polls, clearly favoured abrogation of Article 370. Sources said that the party would like to contest elections on local issues such as generation of employment, economic and industrial growth, infrastructure development, establishing educational institutes, return of Kashmiri Pandits and rights to PoK refugees. The party would also like to raise the issue of devolution of powers to panchayats, and include provisions for better security to representatives at the grassroots level who have been facing threats from extremist elements. The BJP, which is open to alliances with smaller parties, like the Panthers Party, politicians like Sajjad Lone of People's Conference and a few strong Independent candidates, is focusing on the Jammu and Ladakh region. The BJP hopes to repeat its clean sweep performance as seen in some states like Rajasthan and Gujarat during the Lok Sabha polls in the Jammu region, which boasts of 37 Assembly constituencies. The Jammu region is expected to contribute to the major chunk of the 'Mission 44' called for by party chief Amit Shah, sources said. Last elections BJP secured 11 Jammu Assembly seats. The BJP has decided not to have an alliance with the two major political parties in the state - the National Conference and People's Democratic Party. Party sources said one of the major issues likely to be raised by the state unit will be to highlight the dynastic nature of these two parties.