Farooq Abdullah Threatens to Boycott 2019 LS Polls Unless Centre Clears Stand on Articles 370, 35A

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Farooq Abdullah has advised separatists not to engage in talks with the Centre, saying they will get nothing. — Filephoto

Caravan News

SRINAGAR —  National Conference party chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday threatened to withdraw from the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections if the Centre did not clear its stance on Articles 370 and 35A.

Speaking to reporters  at an event in Srinagar on Saturday, National Conference chief said, “We will not only boycott the panchayat elections but also the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections if the Centre doesn’t clear its stand on Article 35A and Article 370.”

Article 35A refers to a constitutional provision that allows the Jammu & Kashmir assembly to define permanent residents of the state. According to the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution, a Permanent Resident is defined as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been residing in the state for a period of 10 years, and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”.

Article 370, on the other hand, guarantees special status to the state.

The Jammu and Kashmir has also recently witnessed protests by separatists against any change in Article 35A and Article 370.

Political parties, including the National Conference and the CPI(M), have moved the Supreme Court in support of Article 35-A that empowers the state assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges to them.

The Supreme Court on August 31 adjourned to January next year the hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of Article 35 A, which provides special rights and privileges to natives of Jammu and Kashmir, after taking note of submissions of the Centre and the state government that there was a law and order problem in the state.

When asked to speak about the recent visit of Indian cricketer turned politian and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s visit to Islamabad to attend Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony and the controversy which erupted after the cricketer-turned-politician hugged Pakistan Army chief General Bajwa, Farooq Abdullah said there are elements in both the countries which do not want peace in the region.

“The manner in which media targeted Sidhu shows there are elements which don’t want India-Pakistan relations to improve. There’s vested interest, both in India and Pakistan, which don’t want peace in both countries. But for people of Jammu and Kashmir, India-Pakistan friendship is essential,” Abdullah said.

Farooq Abdullah added that India and Pakistan must be friends in order to prosper as two nations.

(With inputs from ANI)

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