No need for constitutional amendment to bring J&K under ‘one nation, one election’: BJP

The idea under discussion has nothing to do with J&K’s special status: Ashok Koul; We have serious apprehensions: Mustafa Kamaal
No need for constitutional amendment to bring J&K under ‘one nation, one election’: BJP

Bharatiya Janata Party Friday said there was no need for an amendment to the Constitution of India for reducing the term of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly from six years to five for bringing about 'One nation, One election' currently under discussion in the country.

General Secretary of the party's state unit Ashok KoulFriday said a simple voice vote in the Parliament was all that is need to applya 1977 order issued in this regard by the then Prime Minister Murarji Desai.

Koul said that Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah's Government in theState immediately adopted the 42nd amendment of the Constitution under whichthe term of Parliament and State Assemblies was increased to six years byIndira Gandhi-led government.

"The same amendment, when reversed by the Morarji Desaigovernment in 1977, was not adopted by Jammu and Kashmir Government as it didnot suit the interests of NC leaders," Koul said.

The BJP leader said that the six-year term of the StateAssembly has been favouring the National Conference and other parties that haveruled J&K so far.

"When country is one, there has to be one system," Koulsaid.

Asked whether the move to reduce the term of J&K Statelegislature amounts to further erosion of autonomy or the special status theState enjoys under Article 370, Koul said that a false impression was beingcreated that the step to reduce the term of J&K Assembly was an attack onthe state's special status.

 "Those claiming itare actually misleading the masses. The fact is the 'one nation, one election'has nothing to do with the special status of J&K," the BJP leader said.

 "Why a constitutionalamendment, just a voice vote can put in vote the 1977 amendment ordered byMurarji Desai. Six-year term suited the then leaders when Indira Gandhi-led regimeat the Centre announced the decision. But when same was reversed by MurarjiDesai, feeling insure the NC didn't apply the same. The fraud is evident."

Koul claimed a major aim behind the synchronous electionsmove was to cut costs and travel of election observers and security forces.

"Election observers hardly get time to sit in their offices.Besides, when the elections to state Assemblies would be held across thecountry, the burden on the country's exchequer would reduce automatically andthe amount saved can be utilised in various developmental schemes," the BJPleader said.

Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal, senior NC leader said the party hasserious apprehensions and he stands by what his elder brother and the NCPresident Dr Farooq Abdullah has stated over the issue.

 "I endorse the viewsput forth by Farooq sahib on this issue. I would say that the move should notaffect the federal structure of the country or the State," Kamaal said.  "We strongly advocate that the move beexamined thoroughly and deeply studied before any step is taken."

Kamaal, however, trashed BJP's claims that the move wasaimed to cut the security expenditure and to minimize the travel of electionobservers.

"This is quite horrendous. It is the duty of the democraticcountry to ensure and hold elections in the states," Kamaal said.

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