The history of Jammu and Kashmir would have been very different had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel been allowed to handle the situation by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, said Minister of State (MoS) for Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh on Saturday.
“As far as Jawaharlal Nehru is concerned, it would suffice to say that had Nehru allowed his number 2 in the Cabinet and the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to handle Jammu and Kashmir in the same manner as he was handling the other princely states, including difficult states like Hyderabad, the history of not only Kashmir but the entire Indian subcontinent would have been different,” Singh told ANI here.
“Just because Panditji thought he knew Kashmir better than anybody else, we landed up in the kind of mess we are in today,” he added.
Singh’s attack on Nehru came just after the Lok Sabha approved the extension of President’s rule by six months in Jammu and Kashmir after Union Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that the government was prepared to hold assembly elections in the state by the year-end.
Shah launched a stinging attack on the Congress on Friday by raking up the issues of partition, ceasefire, PoK and handling of the state by the successive governments. He also blamed Nehru for giving a portion of Kashmir to Pakistan without taking Patel into confidence.
Talking about Article 370 and 35A, Singh said, “People who opposed the BJP’s stand on Article 370 and 35A were ignoring the fact that the key players in the creation of both the Articles treated it as a “temporary provision.”
“Even those who differ with us conveniently forget that even the protagonists of the Article 370 and 35A, which most prominently included Nehru, were of the opinion that it was going to be a temporary provision. It was written in the Constitution and the Constituent Assembly in order to pacify the reservation of some members including Syama Prasad Mukherjee.”
“‘Ye ghiste ghiste ghis jaenge,’ was the phrase used by Nehru, it is a part of the record of the Constituent Assembly of India,” Singh said.
“In 1963, when Nehru was still alive, a debate happened, Gulzari Lal Nanda was the Home Minister then. Most of the parties were of the opinion that it was time for Article 370 to go. Thereafter the death of Nehru in May 1964. During Shastriji’s term as Prime Minister, there was another debate that concluded with the then Home Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda as saying, “We will find out a way to do away with it.”
“But, by then, there was a change of power and later on, both the Congress and NC developed vested interests in it,” he added.
The MoS added that the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir was an alibi created by National Conference (NC) and Congress for suiting their needs. “This special status is an alibi created by the National Conference and Congress. When it suits them they are special, when it does not they aren’t,” he said.
Continuing his tirade he said, “During the blackest era of independent India, during the Emergency, when the term of the state assemblies was extended to six years, the then Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah, promptly adopted this legislation, without caring for special status. But just three years later, when it was reversed by the Morarji government he again became special and refused. As a result, even after 40 years today, J&K is the only state whose assembly has a six-year term.”
While attacking National Congress, Singh said, “NC is a beneficiary both ways, they are themselves not loyal to 370 and 35A. They boycotted the Panchayat and lower body elections on the pretext that they will never contest an election till the issue of 35A is resolved. But when the Lok Sabha elections happened, they jumped in. They forgot their own stand because they thought they will be beneficiaries of 8 to 10 per cent voter turnout and send their members in the Lok Sabha.”
“I made a plea on the floor of the house also, I wish a day comes when we decide a meaning of voter turnout to accept the membership of a candidate in Lok Sabha, so we don’t have to deal with such ‘8 per cent wallahs’,” he concluded.