Article 370 : Is BJP playing with the emotions of Nation?
2019 Lok Sabha Election made BJP stronger and its government more stable at the center. In its manifesto released before the election, BJP proposed to annul two articles. Article 370 which grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir and article 35A which provides special rights and privileges to the citizens of the state. However, is BJP committed towards the annulment of Article 370 or was it just an another “Political Jumla” of BJP?
What is Article 370?
Article 370 is a temporary provision in Indian constitution that exempts state of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian constitution and permits the state to draft its own constitution. It was included in Indian constitution on October 17, 1949. It also restricts the legislative power of Indian parliament to be applied to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In fact this was a “temporary provision” in that its applicability was intended to last till the formulation and adoption of the State’s constitution. However, the State’s constituent assembly dissolved itself on 25 January 1957 without recommending either abrogation or amendment of the Article 370. Thus, the Article has become a permanent feature of the Indian constitution.
What was the Purpose of Article 370?
Article 370 has played a very important role in preventing Jammu and Kashmir from becoming integral part of India. It was implemented after a treaty between Sheikh Abdullah, who had by then been appointed Prime Minister of J&K by the Maharaja and Nehru. It must be noted that Kashmir was the only state that our first Prime Minister took responsibility to annex it to Indian dominion and rest were given to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. As a result, rest of the states that Sardar Patel took responsibility to annex it to Indian dominion was annexed with no condition however our first Prime Minister gave Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution by enacting Article 370. Nehru however said that Article 370 was a temporary provision and will get eroded with time. It is more than 70 years since Article 370 was included in Indian constitution and it is yet to be eroded.
Is BJP working towards Annulment of Article 370?
After coming to power for the second time, BJP to a surprise of everyone appointed Amit Shah as country’s Home Minister. Most worried after his appointment are separatists and the political parties of Jammu and Kashmir. Amit Shah is adamant in repelling Article 370 and have made this desire public in several occasions.
Soon after Amit Shah assumed office, the delimitation exercise is believed to be the first major step that government may take towards making the representation in Jammu Kashmir equal. It can also be considered as a step towards annulment of Article 370. It must be noted that at present Jammu Kashmir assembly is heavily skewed in favour of Kashmir region at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh regions. Kashmir accounts for 15.8% of the area and 54.9% of the population. Jammu region accounts for 25.9% of the area and 42.9% of the population while the Ladakh region has 2.2% of the population. Delimitation may lead to a Hindu from Jammu becoming the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Amit Shah is said to visit the state of Jammu Kashmir on 27th June. BJP have made its stand clear toward the annulment of Article 370. However, we need to wait what will be the next move of the government towards fulfilling its promises mentioned in its Election manifesto.
Jammu and Kashmir has always occupied the headlines of Indian politics. Every government tried to solve the issue of the state, yet non succeeded. BJP for the first time have included repealing of Article 370 in its election manifesto. The victory of Jammu and Ladakh Lok Sabha seats was the trust vested on the them by the people of Jammu and Ladakh. If BJP fails to fulfil its promises, it may land up losing the trust of not the people of Jammu and Ladakh but of India as a whole. There India expects this move of BJP government to be a reality rather than an other political jumla.