Congress, NC beating around the bush, evading question on restoration of Article 370 in J-K: Singh

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New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) Union minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday accused the Congress and the National Conference (NC) of beating around the bush on the issue of Article 370 and trying to evade the moot point as to whether they would restore the constitutional provision if voted to power.

Targeting the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said that the 'king' parties had held Jammu and Kashmir to ransom for half-a-century as dynastic entitlement.

The PAGD is an amalgam of various political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including the NC. It has sought the restoration of Article 370, which accorded special status to the erstwhile state.

Singh's statement came after NC vice president Omar Abdullah sought to criticise Union Home Minister Amit Shah who called the alliance the 'Gupkar Gang'.

In a series of tweets, Shah also said it is an 'unholy global gathbandhan' against the country's national interest and questioned Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on whether they support the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

Abdullah, replying to Shah, tweeted: “I can understand the frustration behind this attack by the Hon'ble Home Minister. He had been briefed that the People’s Alliance was preparing to boycott elections. This would have allowed the BJP and newly formed King’s Party a free run in Jammu & Kashmir. We didn't oblige them.' Responding to Abdullah's tweet, Singh said, 'I can understand the frustration behind this misventure by Gupkar Gang to gang up against 'Shah' because he has spelt the doom of 'King' parties which had for half a century held #JammuAndKashmir to ransom as a dynastic entitlement (sic).' Speaking to PTI, Singh alleged that both the Congress and the NC are beating around the bush and trying to evade the moot point as to whether they would restore Article 370 of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power.

'If some of the Gupkar leaders believe that they can confuse the country through the English vocabulary, they should know that we are equally prepared to unfold the treasure of English vocabulary at our command,” he said.

The minister said: “We are ready to go to people in the ensuing District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections later with Article 370 as an election issue and let the Congress party also stand the test of the ballot by making its stand clear on Articles 370 and 35-A”.

Singh said that the NC and the PDP leaders have not yet explained to the people as to why they boycotted the panchayat elections when they had taken the stand not to contest any election unless the constitutional changes were reversed and the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir restored.

What has changed overnight that they have now jumped into the fray in a bid to capture power through DDC elections, he wondered.

“The more the Gupkar Gang sings its swan song, the better it would be for the country because the more they would thus be exposing themselves before the people,” Singh added. PTI CPS AKV SMN SMN