Jammu as well as Kashmir, both the regions are infected with skepticism over the most contentious matter in J&K- Article 370. While some want it abrogated, some want it strengthened. The new government of BJP and PDP that is likely to take the hold of our state for the next six years is also stuck on the same issue- to abrogate the article or not is the current concern of both the parties as well as the citizens of the state. BJP had kept mum on the matter during campaigning prior to the elections and now as the party is eager to form government with the PDP, the demand of abrogation of Article 370 has gone to trash in the quest of finding a common ground which is still nowhere to be seen.
The BJP had earlier demanded abrogation of the Article 370 and PDP was stiff about its demand of strengthening of the Article. Months ago, there was a lot of hue and cry after Modi suggested that the matter needs to be discussed and there should be a debate on the pros and cons of article 370. The issue sparked off once again and is also now the root cause behind the inordinate delay in the formation of government.
Many state leaders are advocating the significance of this article and now BJP too has abandoned its demand of abrogation of article 370 as the party is ready to compromise on the matter despite the criticism from the people of Jammu and also the central leadership. Amid the chaos due to the Article 370 the matter narrows down to the question- What is J&K getting from Article 370?
The Article came into existence just as a temporary provision that was to be removed in due course of time but even after 67 years of independence it hasn’t been abrogated. The state has its own constitution and its own flag and the article hence separates J&K from the rest of the country.
No political party ever touched Article 370, afraid of losing the vote bank. But if we look back there are too little of the benefits that this provision has given to the state or the people of this state. The literacy rate, the economic growth, security issues have not been up to the mark as the provision has rather proved a hurdle in the growth of the state. Other citizens are not allowed to buy any property in the state and hence the private investment gets hampered, which further affects the economic growth of the state. The youth too is left with a narrow share of employment options that is majorly from the government sector only. As a result the youth prefers to move out of the city in search of jobs. The state coffers were empty lately and only because of the funds provided by the central government the state could balance itself.
The attention towards the debate on Article 370 has been mustering immediate reaction and resistance from the regional leaders. On the other hand if Kashmir ceases to be a part of India, the state would not be able to survive on its own. J&K has been unable to generate sufficient funds, Security is another matter of concern in the state. The perception of the central government as well as the people of Jammu is that the Article is not reaping any benefit to the state or even the citizens. It is just another barrier in the path of development of the state and is a beneficial tool only for the power hungry people.
The new government was bound to push the state forward by abrogating the article which has been keeping the state in seclusion but with BJP’s sacrifice for the sake of power the aspect of development and improvement of the state is nowhere to be seen. The scrapping of article 370 could be an end to the prevailing chaos in the state but if the autonomous status of J&K continues, the anticipated change would not be a part of the future of the state.