Article 370, uniform civil code back at BJP conclave

June 1st, 2008 - 9:00 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The contentious issues of a uniform civil code and scrapping of Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir are back on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agenda ahead of the assembly and Lok Sabha elections due next year. “Along with cultural nationalism, Article 370, uniform civil code and true secularism, we are committed to preserve national unity and integrity,” BJP president Rajnath Singh stressed in his address to the party’s national executive meeting here Sunday.

The two controversial issues, which have been downplayed by the BJP in recent times due to pressure from its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies, were mentioned by Singh towards the end of his speech.

The reference to Article 370 of the constitution at this juncture is significant as Jammu and Kashmir goes to polls this year. The BJP has demanded that the special provisions for Jammu and Kashmir, to bring the border state on a par with other states, be scrapped.

With the National Conference (NC), led by Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, moving away from the NDA and showing an inclination to join the ‘third front’, the BJP decided to bring the issue back on the agenda, said a senior BJP leader.

The BJP has favoured a uniform civil code right since its inception, though it was put on the backburner as the party came to lead the NDA.

A renewed demand for it is being read as a move aimed at appeasing the Hindu vote-bank.

“It (the code) is required as the BJP wants to counter appeasement of minorities by the Congress,” said a party leader.

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