Updated: August 6, 2019 1:33:32 am
Minutes after Home Minister Amit Shah announced a decision that effectively turns Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory with an assembly, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal said he supported the Centre’s decision.
AAP has, since its inception, demanded full statehood for Delhi and has called the current system, where some governance matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Lieutenant Governor, a “tyranny”.
Kejriwal had earlier called for a referendum in Delhi to decide whether the National Capital Territory, which enjoys a special status, should be granted statehood.
Earlier this year, Kejriwal had also announced he would go on an indefinite hunger strike for full statehood, and the party’s Lok Sabha poll strategy was also centred around the theme.
Best of Express Premium
On Monday, Kejriwal tweeted: “We support the govt on its decisions on J&K. We hope this will bring peace and development in the state.”
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Gupta also endorsed the Centre’s decision. “AAP and Kejriwal have always taken a stand for the betterment of the nation. We have opposed separatism and terrorism and that is why we support the Bill… We stand for full statehood. We will tolerate the oppression (zulm) of the L-G but for the unity of the nation, to end terrorism, we will support this,” Gupta said in Rajya Sabha.
AAP national spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said there was no contradiction between Kejriwal’s tweet today and his demand for statehood for Delhi.
“It is not right to compare Kashmir with Delhi and Puducherry. Delhi and Puducherry are peaceful states where full statehood is going to bring better governance. Two-thirds of Kashmir is under the occupation of Pakistan and China. Kashmir is being infiltrated 150 times a year. It is illogical to compare the two,” he tweeted.
AAP has in the past distanced itself from statements made by former founder member Prashant Bhushan on Kashmir.
In 2014, Bhushan had questioned deployment of the Army in Kashmir.
Kejriwal, who was then serving his first term as the Chief Minister, had called it Bhushan’s personal view.
Rebel AAP founder member Kumar Vishwas Monday tweeted an old clip of Kejriwal speaking to a news channel, wherein he said that keeping in mind India’s diversity and that several states have been granted special provisions in the Constitution, Article 370 is “ok” and there was “no need” to change what exists.
According to AAP sources, Kejriwal’s statement caught many by surprise.
“Many leaders had thought the party would oppose the Centre’s stand. A Rajya Sabha member was ready to make a statement… A short meeting was held at the Chief Minister’s house and that’s when it became clear the party would support it,” a leader said.
Another leader, pointing out that the Aam Aadmi Party had always opposed a referendum in Kashmir and had backed the Army’s presence in the Valley, said that there was not much change in Kejriwal’s stance today.
“In any case, a party is entitled to its stand,” he said.
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.