In the manifesto released this morning, the BJP maintained its stand on scrapping Article 370 and 35 A of the Constitution, which gives Jammu and Kashmir its special status. The party also said that it remains committed to ensuring that Kashmiri pandits return to the Kashmir Valley.
"We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370. We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state," the manifesto read.
The scrapping of the two articles has been a part of the BJP's core ideology, carried over since the days of Jan Sangh. But the issue made headlines in the aftermath of the terror attack in Pulwama as part of the backlash against Kashmiris.
Article 35A defines permanent residents of the state and excludes outsiders from owning property and getting benefits including government jobs.
Article 370 is an extension of Article 35A, which allows the state its own constitution, flag and the right to handle its own laws except on matters that impact national security.
The Article 35A has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the fight to preserve it has united Kashmir's political parties, residents and separatists. Last year, all mainstream parties in the Kashmir Valley boycotted the panchayat elections in the state to register their protest.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah has dared the BJP to touch either Article, saying the moment that happens, "the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India will end". He has argued that if these articles are supposed to be temporary, then the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India was also temporary.
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