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BJP MLA backs special status; Feel relieved we are on same page, says Mehbooba

Srinagar, Aug 11: Weeks after the disciplinary committee suspended Dr. Gagan Bhagat, BJP MLA from RS Pura Assembly Constituency, for three months over his family dispute, he once again triggered a row on Saturday by asserting that the BJP has “no guts” to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Constitution from Jammu Kashmir. “BJP is befooling the people of the state especially of Jammu region for vote bank,” Dr. Bhagat said while speaking to people of his constituency at a meeting in Miran Sahib here. He said BJP wants to get votes from Jammu keeping larger perspective in mind across the country, adding, “they are in the Centre and looking for the whole country.” “For the last five years, BJP is ruling at the Centre and presently its Governor’s Rule in Jammu Kashmir—which means Centre Rule — and if had been serious to abrogate it, they would have done it,” he added. He said Article 370 and Article 35-A should not go, which is in the interest of Jammu. Meanwhile, former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, said that the two BJP lawmakers have raised their voice in defense of Article 35-A. If it is violated by the central government, it will set the state on fire, she said. The Supreme Court is hearing a series of petitions on the scrapping of the Article 35-A and also against the scrapping on 27 August. Mufti took on to Twitter on Saturday, saying that the two lawmakers of the BJP, Rajesh Gupta and Dr. Gagan Bhagat have started supporting the ongoing agitation against the scrapping of the Article 35-A that defines the special rights of the “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir. “Defending the special status of J&K is not confined to a region anymore. People of the state have realized its importance and sanctity. Today I feel relieved that regardless of political views or affliations, we are all on the same page as far as protecting the special status of J&K is concerned,” Mufti added. In another tweet, she further said that her government was fighting the case legally in court for past two years. “I stood alone in this political battle emphasizing that any dilution of the Article 35 A will set the state on fire,” she tweeted.