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Jammu BJP MLA targets own party over Article 35A, warns against scrapping provision

Press Trust of India  |  Jammu 

Voicing his dissent over the BJP's stand on Article 35A, a in today warned that scrapping the constitutional provision with an eye on the 2019 election could lead to serious consequences.

Gagan Bhagat, a member of from R S Pura constituency, said he had launched a campaign to mobilize public support to safeguard Articles 370 and 35A, which give special rights and privileges to the people of

His remarks found mention on former Mehbooba Mufti's handle today, where she said it was "heartening" that leaders were coming out in support of Article 35-A.

"Today I feel relieved that regardless of political views or affiliations, we are all on the same page as far as protecting the special status of J-K is concerned," Mufti wrote.

Last month, Bhagat found himself in trouble after the state disciplinary committee recommended his suspension from the party for three months. It also proposed to restrain him from holding official position in the party for one year.

The disciplinary action against Bhagat was taken after an ex-serviceman alleged that the leader had abducted his daughter a charge the and the woman have denied.

However, Bhagat's estranged wife publicly accused him of having an extra-marital affair with the woman.

Describing Articles 370 and 35A as "shields", Bhagat said the people in were aware of the "pros and cons" of the provision and were "fighting our battle as well".

"If Article 35A is tinkered with, the day will not be far when the youth of Jammu will also pick up guns and stones. The BJP is selling dreams and want to sacrifice the interests of Jammu to achieve its goal of 300 plus (seats) in the upcoming parliamentary elections," the disgruntled BJP leader told PTI.

A debate over continuing the constitutional provisions has picked up in recent months, after several pleas were filed in the challenging the validity of Article 35A, which permits only the subjects of to buy property in the state.

On August 6, the court said a three-judge bench would decide whether the pleas should be referred to a five-judge bench for examining the larger issue of alleged violation of the doctrine of basic structure of the

The BJP said the Dogras will face the brunt if Article 35A goes.

"We will lose everything - our identity, jobs, business and our land to outsiders. We will be left with no option but to either pick up the gun or stones for our rights."

He claimed that if Article 35A is "removed, the BJP will vanish from the state".

"They are not concerned about the people or eyeing the two parliament seats of Jammu and Kashmir... They want to sacrifice the interests of Jammu to achieve their goal of 300 plus in the next year's parliamentary elections," he claimed.

He accused the BJP leadership of using proxies to revoke Article 370 and Article 35A through the

"BJP is not the well-wisher of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. They are anti-people and anti-scheduled caste. They are playing over the vital issues concerning the state," he said.

The BJP leader said the Kashmiri youth did not pick up the gun in one day. "They are being compelled as they are subjected to arrest and torture."

If terrorism spreads to Jammu, he said, the BJP would be responsible.

Referring to Navnirman Sena's campaign against people from outside the state, he said a similar situation could develop in Jammu and Kashmir.

"If we will not raise our voice today, there will be a Dogra Andoloan like Navnirman Sena's (in Maharashtra) in near future," Bhagat said.

He also dismissed suggestions that he was planning to leave the BJP.

"Why should I leave the party. I am speaking the truth and if they have any problem, let them take action against me. I will not compromise with the rights of people.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 11 2018. 18:30 IST