National Conference chief Omar Abdullah on Tuesday toughened his stand regarding his party's demand for a separate Prime Minister for Jammu and Kashmir and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "read history". It is the Constitution, he said, which gives special status to the state and allows it a ''Sadr-e-Riyasat'' and "Wazir-e-Azam" - posts equivalent to the president and the prime minister.
Addressing an election rally at Pattan in Baramulla district, the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir pitched for greater autonomy. The state, he said, had its prime minister and Sadr-e-Reysat (head of state) till 1965.
Mr Abdullah's statement yesterday -- that Jammu and Kashmir had bargained for a separate Prime Minister and President and hopefully they will have it - drew a furious response from the BJP. PM Modi, his ministers and party leaders attacked not just Mr Abdullah but also his alliance partner, the Congress.
Mr Abdullah said he has not asked for anything more than what was already guaranteed by the Constitution.
"Mr Modi, Please read the history and see under what circumstances the state became part of India," Mr Abdullah said today. "There is nothing new in what I said yesterday about prime minister and Sadr-e-Riyasat of the state. It is recorded in our constitution and it is in the same constitution on which Mr Modi is taking oath," he added.
"It is the constitution which talks about J&K's map, its flag and J&K's own constitution. And according that constitution, we have our own prime minister and Sadr-e-Riyasat,'' said Mr Abdullah.
Jammu and Kashmir had both posts since its accession to India, But in 1965, after an amendment to the state's constitution, the posts of 'Sadar-e-Riyasat' and 'Prime Minister' were replaced with the that of 'Governor' and 'Chief Minister'.
In 2015, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, ruled the amendment unconstitutional.
"The sixth amendment did not merely change the nomenclature but the eligibility, mode and method of appointment of Head of the State. The 'elective status' of Head of the State was an important attribute of Constitutional autonomy enjoyed by the State, a part of 'Basic Framework' of the State Constitution, and therefore not within the amending power of the State legislature," the court had said.
Mr Abdullah's party contends that they want the restoration of the terms of accession, including the restoration of internal autonomy, on the basis of which Jammu and Kashmir became the part of India.
"When I was a minister in the NDA under Vajpayee, then also it was in our manifesto, then also we were talking about the internal autonomy and also about pre-1953 position. If it was right to say these things at that time, then how am I suddenly wrong now?" he said.
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