Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has called the justification made by Home Minister Amit Shah to abrogate Article 370 ‘laughable.’ This was after Shah told the Rajya Sabha that revoking Article 370 will end poverty and herald a new era of development in the valley.
Speaking to NDTV, Sinha, a BJP veteran himself, said, “Laughable, the model of Vikas in the last five years has not reached many important parts of India and there are parts of India which are still wallowing in poverty, deprivation and in misery. Now how’s this going to remove poverty in Jammu and Kashmir, I am unable to understand. Is there any parts of India today which can claim that they’ve advanced economically in the last five years?”
Speaking in the parliament on Monday, Shah had said, “I want to tell the people of J&K what damage 370 & 35A did to the state. It’s because of these sections that democracy was never fully implemented, corruption increased in the state, that no development could take place.”
Sinha said that his main objection had been the government’s decision to not take people of Kashmir into confidence. Terming the move purely political to gain electoral advantage in the upcoming assembly elections in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, Sinha said, “What the government of India has done with Article 370, and Article 35A, is nothing more than pure politics… There are state elections coming in some very important states of India, and this whole thing has been done in order to be able to win the elections.”
Sinha also drew the central government’s shock decision on Jammu and Kashmir to that of the demonetisation announcement made on 8 November 2016. The decision to ban 86% of the currency at a short notice, according to Sinha, too was a political move.
The central government announced the government’s decision to do away with Article 370 in the Rajya Sabha through a Presidential order on Monday. The move drew sharp criticism from several opposition parties, who accused the government of making a mockery of the Indian constitution. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had made a shock announcement to support the Bill, which has always featured in BJP’s manifesto. Also supporting the government in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP lacks a majority, were Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress and N Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party.
The government agencies had placed two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir under house arrest. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were later taken into preventive custody and shifted to a nearby guest house.