Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said even those parties, which were refusing to contest polls till Article 370 was restored, are doing so because “they know that Article 370 has been buried 370 miles deep and to restore it you have to go 370 miles deep."
He said this while addressing a group of BJP workers in frontier Kupwara district on Thursday.
The BJP is using all its might now pushing cabinet ministers like Naqvi in the campaign for the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir. The party in its campaign is calling its opponents, Political Alliance for Gupkar Declaration as “Gupkar gang.”
Naqvi said a clear message from the present DDC election campaign is that people of Jammu and Kashmir are becoming part of the development process. They are becoming part of the development with dignity, he added. He claimed that injustice was done to people of Jammu and Kashmir over the years and people have realized that there is a change in the atmosphere.
He called the Political Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration a confused lot. He claimed that there were some 890 laws that were not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir before the revocation of Article 370. He said some backward classes and SC category people were not getting any benefit due to Article 370.
Targeting leaders of the political alliance, he said that after the revocation of Article 370, economic packages are reaching the people but earlier they were consumed by “political families”.
Later, talking to reporters, the minister said land and forests have protection in Jammu and Kashmir and it will remain so. Asked for his opinion on BJP president Ravinder Raina’s comments that Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba have to say Jai Shri Ram, he evaded the answer, saying the BJP believes in inclusive development.
The Gupkar declaration is a resolution passed by the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Congress, People’s Conference, and smaller parties, including Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) of Engineer Rashid, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement of Shah Faesal, and some smaller parties on August 4, 2019, to defend J&K’s special status. A day later, on August 5, 2019, the BJP government revoked Article 370 amid arrests of around 8,000 people, including three former chief ministers and enforcing a security and communication lockdown.
This year on August 22, despite the crackdown, the signatories to the resolution except Engineer Rashid, who is in jail since August last year and Shah Faesal, who has renounced politics, surprised the government by issuing a joint statement describing abrogation of Article 370 as grossly unconstitutional and a challenge to the basic identity of the people of J&K. After the government announced the elections for DDC polls, the alliance decided to fight the elections together surprising the BJP as the party was expecting the alliance will boycott the polls and it will have a free run.