India’s Ruling Party Makes Election Vow To Scrap Kashmir’s Special Rights
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and chief of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Amit Shah, display copies of their party’s election manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi, India, April 8, 2019 (Photo: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi).
INDIA’S ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said on Monday (8) that it would remove decades-old special rights for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, making an election promise that could provoke a backlash in the country’s volatile only Muslim majority state.
“Nationalism is our inspiration,” prime minister Narendra Modi said at the release of the BJP’s election manifesto at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
Modi’s BJP has consistently advocated ending Kashmir’s special constitutional status, which prevents outsiders from buying property in the state, arguing that such laws have hindered its integration with the rest of the country.
“We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state,” the BJP manifesto said, referring to the 1954 amendment to the constitution.
Voting in the general election begins on Thursday (11) but, with around 900 million people eligible to vote, the polls will be held around the country over coming weeks, and the votes will be counted on May 23.
Modi has made his strong stance on national security, a key part of the BJP’s election campaign.
The manifesto also seeks to counter voter discontent over a lack of jobs and low farm incomes, which have resulted in protests across the country.
The BJP promised a capital investment of Rs 100 trillion on infrastructure by 2024, to help create jobs for the millions of youth entering the workforce every year.
The party also pledged to simplify the goods and services tax, which disrupted businesses and hurt economic growth when Modi introduced it in 2017.
Modi’s party would work towards lowering the tax rate and raise credit to small businesses to Rs 1 trillion by 2024, it further said in the manifesto.