NEW DELHI: If Article 370 had held up the progress of Jammu and Kashmir, what was the reason behind the lack of development in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav asked Home Minister Amit Shah in parliament on Tuesday, blasting the government over revoking special status to India’s northern-most state.
“I was told this (removing Article 370) will bring development to Kashmir. I am happy for that. But I want to know if Uttar Pradesh has been cheated despite the Prime Minister, President, Governor, you (Speaker) being from there, how can one say Kashmir will progress?” Akhilesh Yadav said in his speech in the Lok Sabha.
“You say nothing happened for Kashmir in the 70 years since independence, are you counting the 11 years that you (BJP) have been in power?” he added.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister attacked the government over the status of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and questioned when will special privileges granted to north-eastern states be reviewed.
“The government must answer who Pak-occupied Kashmir belongs to. And why have not been able to fill the 24 seats (from PoK) vacant in the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. Can the Home Minister assure us that these seats will be filled?” Mr Yadav said.
The face-off between the opposition and the government over moves to scrap special privileges granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the constitution – like the ability to frame its own laws – and split the state into two union territories moved to the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The debate in the lower house took place with little representation from the state, where a communications blackout in entered its second day, with television, telephone and internet links snapped and prominent leaders remained under detention to deter protests.
Home Minister Amit Shah told the Lok Sabha that the it was “not a political move”. “Parliament has full powers to make laws for the entire country…. The constitution of India and the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir both allow for this to be done,” he said as Congress members interrupted him with their protests.