Srinagar, May 9 :
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari Friday said that for Jammu and Kashmir to prosper, article 370 of the constitution granting it special status must go.
Addressing the media at an informal interaction here, the former Bharatiya Janata Party president said: “For the prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir, more investment, more public-private participation is needed and for that to happen, the BJP feels article 370 must go.”
“For IT industries to come here, for the tourism sector to prosper, for employment generation, this article must go,” he said.
Replying a question whether the BJP would seek a debate on this sensitive issue, Gadkari said: “Abrogation of article 370 is in our election manifesto and there is no question about that.”
Asked about Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s offer to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for a debate on the issue, he said debates have to be in the court of the people and not on television sets.
“He is doing that debate on the television and let him do that.”
Gadkari claimed that a fear was being created that the BJP’s coming to power would communalize the country.
“This is the propaganda of the Congress and other so-called secular parties. Our priority is to ensure the progress and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir and equal opportunities to every citizen of the country.
“You have tested them for 60 years, now test Narendra Modi for 60 months. You would know the difference.”
Indirectly confirming that the BJP would not dangle an olive branch to Kashmiri separatist leaders if the NDA comes to power, he said: “Our message to the separatist leaders is contained in my today’s statement to the media.”
“If you don’t come closer to us (BJP), how can you judge us? Come closer to us, become our friends and find out for yourselves whether we are good or bad.
“The NC (National Conference) and the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) are distributing coloured goggles to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. As long as you look at us with those coloured goggles, you will see us as either red or yellow.
“Whether I wear a pant and a shirt or a kurta and pajama doesn’t determine our policy or approach to issues.”
Asked about the NC leaders accusing PDP of an understanding with the BJP, Gadkari said his party has no understanding with either of these parties.
“If anyone wants to join us, he is welcome, but on our own, we have not approached anyone,” he said.
He said the BJP is committed to carry forward the peace process with all neighbours including Pakistan.
“We stand 100 percent for improving relations with Pakistan and that is important for both the countries”.
Lambasting what he called the dynasty rule of the Nehru-Gandhi family in the country and the Abdullahs in the state, he said, “Tell me why cannot a person whose father ran a tea shop and whose mother washed utensils of people become the prime minister of India,” in a reference to Modi who has been stressing his humble origins.
“The worst damage to the country has been done by this dynastic rule and time has come for this to go.”
Asked about the plans of the BJP to seek allies for government formation it needed, he said: “We believe we will get 275 or more seats on our own.”
Asked whether the BJP would reconsider Modi’s nomination as its prime ministerial candidate if alliance politics demands so in the future, he said that there was “no question” of this.