One Flag, One PM, One Constitution: Amit Shah Hails BJP’s Kashmir Achievements

One Flag One PM One Constitution: Amit Shah Hails BJP's Kashmir Achievements

There should only be one flag, one prime minister and one Constitution in India and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made this possible, Union home minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday, hailing the Centre’s decision to scrap Jammu & Kashmir’s special status four years ago

There should only be one flag, one prime minister and one Constitution in India and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made this possible, Union home minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday, hailing the Centre’s decision to scrap Jammu & Kashmir’s special status four years ago.

Speaking briefly in the Lok Sabha during a debate on two bills on reservation in the Union territory, Shah also said that the concept of one flag, one PM and one Constitution — first coined by Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee — was not just a political slogan.

He was responding to comments by Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Saugata Ray. “It is a very objectionable to say ‘one flag, one PM and one Constitution’ is a political statement. How can there be two PMs in one country? How can there be two Constitutions in one country? How can one country have two flags? Whoever had said so (earlier), did a wrong thing. Narendra Modi ji has done the work of rectifying it,” Shah said in the Lower House.

“It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree. The whole country wanted this and this is not an election slogan…We have been saying since 1950 that in this country, there should be one symbol, one Constitution and one PM, and we have implemented it as well.”

The comments came amid a debate on two bills — the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 — that were taken up for consideration and passing on Tuesday. The bills were introduced in Parliament on July 26 but were not taken up for discussion.

During the debate, Ray said that BJP’s move to effectively abrogate Article 370 in 2019 was a political statement.

“They abrogated Article 370 just to fulfil the BJP promise: ‘Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan’ (one PM, one flag and one Constitution). This was the slogan at the time of Syama Prasad (Mookerjee), this is not for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as this was a political statement and was his slogan,” Ray said.

The TMC leader added urgent attention should be given to holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir, not making any other changes, referring to the two bills.

The J&K reservation bill seeks to provide reservation in jobs and admission in professional institutions to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other socially and educationally backward classes. The J&K reorganisation bill provides for the reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir (with an elected legislature) and Ladakh (without an elected legislature). The bill seeks to increase total number of seats to 90 from 83 in J&K assembly – a number fixed by the delimitation commission earlier this year. It also reserves seven seats for scheduled castes and nine for scheduled tribes.

During the debate, a number of Opposition leaders pushed for a time frame to hold elections in the Union territory.

Congress leader Manish Tewari and the Nationalist Congress Party’s Supriya Sule were among those asked the Centre when the elections will be held and when statehood will be restored in the Union territory.

Former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah hit back at Union minister of state Jitendra Singh’s remark that militancy in the region was fuelled by “vested interests” of political parties that had previously ruled India and the province.

“Our neighbour [Pakistan] has not accepted the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. Secondly, the the National Congress gave the biggest sacrifice. Our leaders and ministers were killed for holding the flag of India high. We have never denied that we are part of this nation, and we will remain part of this nation. But do justice to us. Do not point fingers to people who have suffered for this nation and continue to suffer for this nation,” said Abdullah.

Union minister Jitendra Singh said “whenever the EC announces it (election in Jammu and Kashmir), we are ready”.

Information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur told the Lok Sabha that Modi did what the Congress couldn’t achieve and the “shortcomings in Jawaharlal Nehru’s policy was rectified by Modi.”

Ladakh’s BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal countered the Opposition’s demand for immediate elections in the Union Territory. “I went to South Kashmir, in areas that were hotbeds of terrorism. Local people told me they are in no hurry for election and they want peace and security. Shooting of guns has been replaced by film shootings. Shops are now open till 11pm.”

Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference questioned why the government was treating the North-East and J&K differently. “I can’t travel to the Northeast without an inner line permit. The Assam CM can’t buy land in Bodoland. Then, why allow people to buy land in J&K? Why do you want to turn J&K into a lab? While you are strengthening NE, you are weakening J&K,” he said.

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