National Conference has realised Article 370 can’t be restored: BJP backs Omar Abdullah’s demands

The BJP has welcomed National Conference vice-president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s statement on restoration of statehood saying the regional party has realised that Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, cannot be restored.

“They (NC leaders) now realize that Article 370 cannot be restored and they will have to live with it. Now parties should extend support to ensure return of peace in Jammu & kashmir,” senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta said.

Referring to Omar Abdullah’s write-up and interview in which he had said that he would not contest election till statehood is restored, he said, “It is his personal decision and what can be said.” However, Gupta welcomed NC’s “change of stand on Article 370” saying that the party has not talked about autonomy and other issues they used to raise. “They have realised that these things have gone for all”.

Omar in an interview categorically ruled out agitating over restoration of Article 370 and 35A. “Now if you are asking me whether the NC will take this battle to the streets, I think the time for that has passed. When in the immediate aftermath of what happened on August 5, the battle didn’t go out into the streets, why would it go down to the streets one year later. So we will fight it politically, legally,” Omar said.

Omar’s father and three-time former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah in his first interview since August 5, 2019 also talked about restoration of statehood. On August 5 last year centre scrapped Articles 370 and 35A and split J&K state into two Union Territories.

Omar’s statehood on restoration of statehood has created fissures in National Conference with one of the senior party leader and three-time former legislator Aga Ruhullah resigning from the post of party’s chief spokesperson to protest former CM’s sidelining Article 370 issue.

The former DyCM welcomed Omar’s statement on statehood and said, “Due to law and order situation, the state was split and turned into the UT. Once the law and order situation improves fully, the statehood would be restored. We will also tell the government to restore the statehood of J&K.”

Gupta said that the BJP also wants restoration of statehood and it will definitely take place. “The statehood would be restored as and when the centre feels that the situation has improved fully,” he added. Like NC and BJP, J&K Apni Party and Congress have also been demanding restoration of statehood. However, the latter has been demanding restoration of statehood with special constitutional guarantees.