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Modi’s Secret Meet with Prez Sans Cavalcade on Aug 4, 2019: How PM’s ‘Special’


A Prime Minister meets the President, secretly, minus the cavalcade, a day prior to a move that may change the face of a key region of the country – a scene which may seem straight out of a movie, was actually the reality of the efforts PM Narendra Modi had to take to ensure scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, according to a report in the Times of India. Even better, the scene is now part of the soon-to-be released film ‘Article 370’, said the report.

ALSO READ | PM Modi Calls SC Verdict on Article 370 ‘Historic’, Says It’s a Beacon of Hope

The details of the operation to fulfil one of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) foundational pledges have now been corroborated by official sources, the TOI report added.

THE SECRET MEETING

First came the meeting. Modi went to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet then President Ram Nath Kovind, late on the evening of August 4, 2019, alone, in an unmarked car without the mandatory cavalcade, said the report. There, he briefed the President on the plan to scrap the Article.

Meanwhile, prominent Kashmiri leaders were placed under house arrest, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. Section 144, which prohibits gatherings of more than four persons in public, was imposed, restricting internet and cellphone services.

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BILL IN RS

The next step was introducing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) did not have majority support, and not in the Lok Sabha, where the saffron party enjoyed a majority.

Reason? Bringing in the legislation in the Lok Sabha first would have alerted the Opposition and helped them use their higher numbers in the Rajya Sabha to block it. The bill had to come as a surprise to the Opposition, who were against any change in J&K, said the report.

Thus, on August 5, Home Minister Amit Shah sought a presidential order repealing Articles 370 and 35A. J&K was be divided into two Union Territories — Ladakh (to be administered centrally) and J&K (to be administered locally with its legislative assembly).

ABOUT ARTICLE 370

Article 370 was a ‘temporary provision’ which granted special, autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. All the provisions of the Constitution which applied to other states did not apply to J&K. According to this Article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, the Parliament needed the J&K government’s concurrence to apply all other Indian laws.

The Supreme Court in December 2023 upheld the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and directed the Election Commission to hold Assembly elections in the Union Territory by September 30, 2024.

LIFE AFTER ARTICLE 370

On the last day of the Budget Session on Saturday, PM Modi, while highlighting the ‘reforms and transforms’ that took place in the country in the past five years, mentioned the abrogation of Article 370. “During this Lok Sabha’s term, several decisions for which many generations waited for long were taken. Article 370 was also abrogated during this Lok Sabha’s term… I feel that those who drafted the Constitution would bless us for this,” he said.

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    first published: February 11, 2024, 14:16 IST

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