Union minister and senior BJP leader Jitendra Singh Saturday said his party respects Governor Satya Pal Malik’s decision of dissolving the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, as it believes in maintaining the sanctity of the country’s constitutional institutions. The Assembly was abruptly dissolved by the governor on the night of November 21, hours after the PDP staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference and the Congress followed by another bid from the two-member People’s Conference which claimed the support of the BJP and 18 legislators from other parties.
“The decision of the governor (to dissolve the Assembly) is paramount for us. Keeping in mind the sanctity and honour of the institution he heads, we will accept his decisions in the future as well,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
The Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office was replying to a question about former BJP MLA from R S Pura, Gagan Bhagat, reportedly challenging the governor’s decision in the Supreme Court by filing a writ petition on Thursday. Bhagat, who was suspended for six months by the disciplinary committee of the party following allegations of extramarital affairs in July, had also caused embarrassment for the BJP in August when he supported Article 35A of the constitution providing special rights and privileges to the people of the Jammu and Kashmir.
Downplaying Bhagat’s move, the Union minister said the BJP does not interfere in constitutional institutions and will always maintain the sanctity of the Raj Bhavan.
“The Congress, which ruled the country and even the state for over 40-50 years, is habitual in interfering with constitutional institutions like the Raj Bhavan. Because of this guilt consciousness, the Congress was expecting us to do the same during our rule. But this is the difference between them and us,” Singh said.
On protests by opposition parties over the Governor’s decision to convert J&K bank into a Public Sector Undertaking, he said the BJP whole-heartedly supports the move.
“The bank was formed to benefit the poor and not a few families or the cooks working in their kitchens. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working to bring transparency in the country. If they (opposition) are against transparency that means they have something to hide,” Singh said.
About a Jammu University professor allegedly referring to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh as a “terrorist”, the Union minister said the agency concerned will take cognizance about it.
But, a bottom line has to be drawn to maintain the patriotic and nationalistic integrity in India, he said. While delivering a lecture at the department of political science on Thursday, Prof Mohammad Tajuddin allegedly made the reference. Taking immediate action, Vice Chancellor Prof Manoj K Dhar ordered a probe and ordered disassociation of Prof Tajuddin from teaching.
However, Prof Tajuddin has said that his remarks were taken out of context and a 25-second clip was made from his two-hour lecture. Singh, on Saturday, said, “I am personally in favour of free flow of ideas, thoughts and ideologies. In fact, every student in any university or teaching institution should have an opportunity to expose himself or herself to all streams of thought so that he can grow his thought through spontaneity.”
“But the bottom line has to be commitment to the integrity and supremacy of the nation and this is observed even in some of the most developed democratic countries such as the United Kingdom and the USA.”
“Those who go to these countries and acquire the citizenship, they too do not utter a single world directly or indirectly which would hurt the integrity of the country where they have settled,” Singh said.