Referendum on Article 35A and Article 370 which PM Modi won hands down in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh

BJP: 46% votes; INC: 28%; NC: 7.8%: PDP: 2.3%

Referendum on Article 35A and Article 370 which PM Modi won hands down in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh
Referendum on Article 35A and Article 370 which PM Modi won hands down in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh

One can only hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would appreciate the mandate and scrap Articles 35A & 370 to bring J&K at par with other states.

 

The 2019 general election was not really an election; it was, in fact, a referendum on PM Narendra Modi and his concepts of Bharat and nationalism. He won the referendum hands down. And, it was not altogether unexpected. The nation gave him 303 seats and to his allies 50 seats, a two-thirds majority. In 2014, he had won 282 seats and his allies 56. The referendum outcome almost decimated the minority-appeasers; Pakistan’s apologists; supporters and sympathizers of Maoist terrorists, jihadis of all varieties across the nation (barring Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh); and Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. It’s no wonder then that the Bharat Tere Tukde Honge gang, Khan Market gang, Jawaharlal Nehru University gang and ilk are in a state of shock. They are shamelessly saying that PM Modi got only 37% of the totals polled and others got the remaining 63%. They got from the nation they had been abusing since 1947 what they deserved on May 23, 2019, an epoch-making day.

Of course, it’s true that the NC won three Lok Sabha seats (all from Kashmir), but it’s also true that it’s was only a technical victory, and not a moral and political victory.

Nation also won another referendum that eventful day. It won the historic referendum in the State of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The referendum was on the highly atrocious, divisive and discriminatory Articles 35A and 370. The referendum in the sense that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought the mandate against Articles 35A and 370, as also for the integration of the state into Bharat. He created a history of sorts. He was polled 46.4% of the totals votes polled in the state. He secured 16,45,057 votes — 15,82,377 votes from Jammu province, 42,914 votes from the Cold-desert Ladakh and 19,766 votes from Kashmir. The total number of voters in Jammu was 33,65,037 and in Ladakh 1,74,967. No less than 71.22% of the total registered voters voted in Jammu and 72.25% voters voted in Ladakh with great enthusiasm. The nation didn’t witness a single violent incident either in Jammu or in Ladakh. In 2014, the BJP’s vote-share was 34.4% and it also had won all the three Lok Sabha seats from Jammu and Ladakh. An increase of 12% in the vote-share of the BJP speaks for itself.

In contrast, the votaries of Article 35A, Article 370 and the state’s separate status suffered a humiliating defeat across the state. The Kashmir-based National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Rahul Gandhi’s Congress also sought a mandate in Kashmir and elsewhere on the planks of Article 35A, Article 370 and state’s separate status. They secured 38.73% of the total vote polled. The vote-share of Congress was 28.47%. As for the NC and the PDP, their vote-share was 7.89% and 2.37%, respectively. The NC secured only 2,80,306 votes and the PDP even less — 1,20,747 votes. The total number of voters in Kashmir was 40,09,570, which also included nearly 1.25 lakh internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindu voters.

To be more precise, the BJP secured 7.56% more votes as compared to the number of votes the Congress, the NC and the PDP together secured. And this should clinch the whole issue and establish that the people of Jammu and Ladakh voted for the abrogation of Article 35A and Article 370 and the NC, the PDP and the Congress utterly failed to induce voters even in the 100% Muslim Kashmir to go out and vote for the votaries of these two Articles, which held Jammu and Kashmir aloof from national mainstream and promoted separatism and communalism in Kashmir.

Of course, it’s true that the NC won three Lok Sabha seats (all from Kashmir), but it’s also true that it’s was only a technical victory, and not a moral and political victory. The fact of the matter is that the NC of Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, the PDP of Mehbooba Mufti and the Congress of Rahul Gandhi on May 23 forfeited the right to speak not only for and on behalf of Jammu and Ladakh, but also for and on behalf the Muslims in the tiny Kashmir Valley. Even otherwise, the NC and the PDP forfeited the right to speak for and on behalf of the people of state as both the parties had failed to find even one candidate for any of the three Lok Sabha constituencies in Jammu and Ladakh, Jammu-Poonch, Kathua-Udhampur-Doda and Ladakh, which constitute 85% of the state’s land area and house over 50% of its population. The NC had also not fielded any candidate from Jammu and Ladakh in 2014.

Article 35A has perpetuated gender inequality, denied Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan living in Jammu since 1947 citizenship rights and declared all Indians, barring permanent residents of the state, as persona-non-grata in Jammu and Kashmir.

It would not be out of place to mention here that the NC’s three candidates, including former Chief Minister and party chief Farooq Abdullah, secured a paltry 2,80,306 votes from the Kashmir’s 46 assembly segments. In contrast, the BJP’s candidate from Jammu-Poonch constituency, Jugal Kishore Sharma, who secured 8,58,066 votes from the 20 assembly segments, got 2,86,947 votes from the Jammu’s five assembly segments alone. These included Jammu East, Jammu West, Gandhi Nagar, Samba and Bishnah. As for the PDP, which got a paltry 1,20,747 votes from the Kashmir’s 46 assembly segments, less said the better. Suffice it to say that Jugal Kishore Sharma secured 1,50,499 votes from the Jammu’s 2 assembly segments alone — Jammu East and Gandhi Nagar.

What do Article 370 and Article 35A provide for? Article 370 says that no central law could be extended to the state without the consent or concurrence of the state government. It also empowered the state to have a separate constitution and a separate flag and enjoy residuary powers. Article 370 was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly under pressure from PM JL Nehru in October 1949 as a “Temporary” provision and applied to Jammu and Kashmir on January 26, 1950. Article 370 was adopted against the advice of Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee BR Ambedkar and enforced much against the wishes of Jammu and Ladakh.

As for Article 35A of May 14, 1954, it was applied to Jammu and Kashmir through backdoor ignoring the Parliament and throwing to the wind Article 368 of the Constitution. It was applied through a Presidential Order w.e.f. May 14, 1944, when India was still under London and Jammu and Kashmir a princely state. It empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Government to decide who all are permanent residents of the state; who, according to it, can enjoy “special rights and privileges” and acquire immovable property in the state; and who are eligible for scholarships and public aid. But more than that, Article 35A says that “no Act of Legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land”. Article 35A has perpetuated gender inequality, denied Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan living in Jammu since 1947 citizenship rights and declared all Indians, barring permanent residents of the state, as persona-non-grata in Jammu and Kashmir.

One can only hope and pray that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would appreciate the mandate and scrap Article 35A and Article 370 to bring Jammu and Kashmir at par with other states of the Union and establish parity between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the Indians.

Hari Om is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Jammu.
Hari Om

1 COMMENT

  1. Dear Sir, One of the good option to deal with kashmir issue will be to break down the state into either 2 or 3 parts. It can be Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir as three independent states or it could be Jammu&Ladakh as one state and Kashmir into a separate state. With this setup government can concentrate on all the required welfare and development activities in full scale manner. This will also ensure lot of economic growth (mainly tourism) in Jammu and Ladakh. Our Govt. can then go ahead and nail down the terrorism in the valley alone easily. This will also ensure the minority appeasement stops instantly in that region.

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