New Delhi, Feb 19: At a time when BJP and PDP are struggling to iron out differences over major issues like AFSPA and Article 370, this will further wobble their path. Reaching consensus over contentious issues seems difficult at the moment.
A day after the BJP JK unit chief and MP, Jugal Kishore Sharma hinted that AFSPA was not needed in the State, Army has put its foot down on the issue. Reportedly, the Army doesn't want any compromise in the act and is dead against 'revoking' or even 'partially withdrawing' the rule.
In opposition to NC and PDP's stand who supports revocation of the 'draconian AFSPA' as termed by critics, Army believes that it is inevitable to maintain peace in the State. A Times of India report quotes Army's stand as , "the Act is "an enabling legislation" that empowers its troops to conduct counter-terrorist operations effectively in the strife-torn state".
Army against AFSPA
Sniffing that Modi government may tweak the act, Army said that it will be immature act as Pakistan still have more than 40 terror camps active along the border.
When asked about the issue, An army official said, "Yes, violence levels in J&K are certainly down, with the state polls being held without any major incident. But the government should adopt a wait-and-watch policy to ensure there is no major terror blowback".
Earlier, PDP and BJP, which are in talks over government formation in Jammu and Kashmir for the past three weeks, said a consensus has been reached on most of the issues. However, they refused to comment on the time by which they will announce an alliance to form the coalition government.
PDP said that talks are on to achieve a "consensus" on "left out one or two issues" confronting the coalition in the formation of the government.
PDP spokesperson Naeem Akhtar told reporters, "We (PDP) have more issues of convergence... and a few issues, one or two are there, on which consensus has not emerged as yet. Attempts are being made by both the sides to reach consensus on them."
He said, "Both the parties are trying to resolve the areas of divergence and difference as we feel that the government which is formed should be purposeful government".
Akhtar said, "As soon as we feel that we have overcome major differences, we will take a decision." He said that there are still "certain issues" which needed to be sorted out.
"But they will get sorted as the parties get into a structured dialogue," he added. BJP also said here that talks are going on and once there is a consensus on "some" issues, the process for the formation of government in J-K will start. BJP JK unit chief and Jammu MP, Jugal Kishore Sharma, told reporters here,
"There are several issues on which talks are going on. Once the consensus is achieved (on some issues), the process of the government formation will begin." When asked about the time frame, Sharma said, "how can we say that when the talks will end".
Contradictory positions on AFSPA and Article 370
BJP and PDP have contradictory positions on Article 370, which grants special status to the state. While BJP is for abrogation of the Article, PDP is against it.
Similarly, the two parties have different positions on AFSPA. While PDP wants its revocation, BJP is against it.
Jitendra Singh, a senior leader from J&K and Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office last year had stoked a controversy by saying that the Narendra Modi government was open to debate on merits and demerits of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir and would make efforts to "convince" the "unconvinced" by holding contact programmes with every section of society in the state.
He had later retracted his statement which drew flak from opposition parties and other stakeholders.
(With inputs from PTI)