Former senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said that Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, cannot be restored unless another party gets a two-thirds majority in Parliament, NDTV reported.
“Ghulam Nabi Azad will not mislead anyone,” he said. “For votes, I will not mislead and exploit you. Please do not rake up issues which can’t be achieved. 370 cannot be restored. It needs a two-thirds majority in parliament.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government, which has a two-thirds majority in Parliament, had scrapped statehood and special status under Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. The former state was split into two Union Territories.
The Centre had also repealed Article 35A, which ensured special rights and privileges to people defined as “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir. Since then, the region has been under central rule.
At a rally in Baramulla on Sunday, Azad said regional parties were misleading Kashmiri residents by promising to restore Article 370, according to NDTV. He added that his party will instead fight to restore statehood and protect the jobs and land of Jammu and Kashmir residents.
“I will not raise emotive slogans for winning seats,” he said. “We will have to fight for the restoration of statehood. For this, there is no need for a constitutional amendment.”
He said once statehood is restored, the state government can make laws to protect jobs and land as these two matter do not require approval from Parliament.
The former Congress leader said he will be launching his party in Jammu and Kashmir within the next 10 days to “fight politics of exploitation and falsehood”, The Indian Express reported.
Azad had resigned from the Congress on August 26 after having been associated with the party for nearly 50 years.
In his resignation letter, he had said that the Congress has lost the “will and ability to fight for what is right for the country”. He had also accused MP Rahul Gandhi of destroying the party’s “entire consultative mechanism” after he became its vice president in 2013.
Hours later, he said that he would start a new party soon and set up its first unit in Jammu and Kashmir.