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Article 370 row: Advani hits back at Omar Abdullah

June 28, 2013 15:31 IST

Against the backdrop of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah slamming him on the issue of revocation of special status to the state, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Friday advised him not to use words like “cheating and deceiving” and clarified that his party has always been opposed to Article 370.

In his latest blog posting, Advani said even the Congress party -- other than Jawaharlal Nehru and a few other leaders -- were strongly opposed to giving a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

 Advani quotes from a biography of Sardar Patel to argue that even he was against Article 370 but kept his views in the background out of his regard for Nehru.  "Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, has every right to disagree with the BJP on matters relating to J&K.

"But I would advise him never to use offensive language and words like ‘cheating’ and ‘deceiving’ in that context,” Advani said on his blog. Advani had recently said Article 370 should be revoked. Abdullah had responded to this without naming Advani and slammed him for raising the "false boggy of revocation" of the provision.

Holding that it is "highly improper" for anyone to use offensive words like "cheating" in the context of the BJP’s stand on J-K, Advani said his party has "not only been unequivocal, forthright and consistent from the time Jana Sangh (BJP’s predecessor) was born in 1951 till today, but it is an issue for which the party’s founder -- President laid down his own life”.

Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, who founded the Jana Sangh was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir in 1952 when he tried to enter the state without a permit which was required then to go to there. He died- allegedly under mysterious circumstances -- during his incarceration.

"Since our very first all India session at Kanpur, we have been championing complete integration of J&KState with India,” Advani said. Advani said Abdulalh should be aware that the Jana Sangh was not even formed when the special status was given to J&K.

"However, if there was any provision in the draft Constitution which had almost the entire Congress up in arms against it, it was this provision. "This issue was considered by the constituent assembly in November, 1949 just two months before the Constitution was formally adopted,” he said.

The Congress and Abdullah’s National Conference are allies in the state and at the Centre. Quoting extensively from a book 'My Reminiscences of Sardar Patel", written by V Shankar, private secretary of Patel, Advani said Nehru had finalised the draft of the provision in consultation with Sheikh Abdullah, Omar’s grandfather, before going on a foreign visit.

He left it to fellow Congress leader Gopalaswamy Ayyangar to defend it before the Congress Parliamentary Party. Though Patel was against this idea, he went ahead.

However, due to stiff opposition from Congress members -- who shouted down even Maulana Azad on the issue -- Patel said due to "international complications" only a provisional approach could be made. 

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