New Delhi: Terming Article 370 of the Constitution the “root cause” of terrorism and an impediment to the development in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Valley, the Narendra Modi government on Monday took a bold and unprecedented step of revoking the contentious Article — which accorded a special status to the state — besides proposing the bifurcation of the state into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The revocation of Article 370 was high on the BJP’s poll promises list since the days of its earlier avatar, the Jan Sangh, and was one of the core issues of the Sangh Parivar.
Blaming votebank politics for the continuation of a “temporary clause”, the BJP-led government asserted that it needed a “strong political will” to look beyond the votebank politics over the issue.
The government asserted that J&K was “heaven on earth and will remain so”. Though speculation was rife that the government could revoke Articles 370 and 35(A), especially after its stunning Lok Sabha victory, it was still surprising for many, even many BJP leaders, when the government made its intention known on Monday.
Despite strong opposition by the Congress, Trinamul, NCP, SP, the Left parties and also by its NDA ally the JD(U), the government’s resolutions and a Bill in this regard in the Rajya Sabha found support from non-NDA parties, including the BJD, YSRC, TRS and surprisingly from its former ally TD, the Mayawati-led BSP and the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which has been hugely critical of the Modi government on several issues.
The Upper House, where home minister Amit Shah announced the government’s decision, approved both resolutions and the J&K Reorganisation Bill, on which a division of votes was sought by the Opposition, with 125 members backing the legislation and 61 opposing it. The government managed to keep the numbers in its favour in the Upper House, where it is yet to secure a majority....