Article 370: Nitish says BJP drawing 'a line of division'

Nitish KumarThere is a need for debate on how to promote social harmony instead of disturbing it, Nitish Kumar said. (PTI)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday slammed BJP for raking up the issue of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir terming it as part of an effort to again "draw a line of division".

"Article 370 is given to Jammu and Kashmir in view of the special condition of the border state and the people of the country have accepted this," Kumar told reporters.

"Raking up the issue is nothing but an attempt to again draw a line of division in the country," Kumar said in an apparent attack on his rival Narendra Modi.

"I am a supporter of Article 370 for state of Jammu and Kashmir...there is neither a need for debate on the subject nor any need for changing it," he said emerging from "Janata Ke darbar me Mukhya Mantri" programme at his residence.

Making a scathing attack on BJP Prime Ministerial candidate without naming him, Kumar, who is driving force of JD(U) which parted 17 year old ties with the BJP over elevation of Narendra Modi, said the country was "walking on a set path but the new forces (represented by Modi) trying to change that environment by raking up sentimental issues."

Kumar said his party had put three conditions for joining NDA in 1996 that included maintaining Article 370, against imposing common civil code and solving Ayodhya issue either through dialogue between two communities or by court order.

"We still stand firm on these issues," he said.

With BJP insisting on an open debate on Article 370, Kumar said there is need to have debate on other pressing issues like what should be direction of economic policy in the country.

"Do we need an economic policy which promotes prosperity of a developed state or ponder over uplifting underdeveloped states," he said indirectly criticising the "Gujarat model" of development and harping on the "Bihar model" of inclusive growth.

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