Vajpayee never approved of Article 370: Jitendra Singh
Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Friday said that former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee never approved of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking at a function here to mark the first death anniversary of Vajpayee, Singh said, "For the past eight years, the main allegation has been that why wouldn't you follow 'jamhooriyat, kashmiriyat and insaniyat' (democracy, humanism and inclusive Kashmiri culture).
"Vajpayeeji never approved of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The statement 'jamhooriyat, kashmiriyat and insaniyat' was taken up by the opposition, which twisted and exploited it to suit their purpose," he said.
In a big triumph for the Narendra Modi-led government, both the Houses of the Parliament last week passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, and adopted the resolution to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A, paving way for bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories (UTs) -- Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh sans one.
Lashing out at the opposition parties, Singh said, "Why wouldn't anyone explain Syama Prasad Mookerjee's detention for 45 days? The same people cry foul today just for a minute of inconvenience caused to the leaders in Kashmir. This is hypocrisy."
The Minister said that Eid and Independence day were never celebrated so peacefully in the Valley as they were this year.
"Are we not stakeholders in our own country? Each one of our 125 crore Indians is a stakeholder in the Jammu and Kashmir issue. Therefore, we don't need outsiders to talk about Kashmir," he said.
"Vajpayeeji used to visit Jammu and Kashmir around elections, with little preparation and full knowledge that only a few seats were on offer. Still he came to Kashmir, just to encourage the young workers," he said.
The BJP leader said that when Syama Prasad Mookerjee went to Jammu from Amritsar, he used to ask the people to go and tell the world that he had entered without a permit.
"Had he been alive today, he would have said that 'go tell the world that Modi has abrogated Article 370'," Singh said, adding that the revocation of special status to J&K was the true tribute to Mookerjee.
Recalling the personal warmth of Vajpayee, Singh said, "When he went to Belapur in 1957 to open a Janata party office, the local party workers offered him a ride on a bicycle to save money. When Vajpayeeji again went to the same village in 1977, he asked for the same cycle. Such gestures build the spirit of the party cadres."
BJP stalwart Vajpayee passed away on August 16, 2018, following prolonged illness. IANS