The decision on Article 35A soon: Jugal Kishore Sharma

Besides taking forward the development tasks, the party’s priority would be to abrogate Article 35A as was included in the ‘Sankalp Patr’.

After getting second term to represent J&K in the Lok Sabha, what are your priorities?
I have been always a representative of the people of my constituency in the LS. My priorities are the same as were after 2014 to extend maximum Central beneficial schemes which alleviate problems of the constituency, including bunkers on the IB and LoC, development packages for West Pakistan refugees, road connectivity to remotest areas and health and education facilities in far-off places.

Do you aspire for a Cabinet berth in the forthcoming cabinet announcement of the Modi-led NDA on May 30?
Cabinet berth or not, I do not care for it. My aspiration is only that my representation in Parliament benefits my constituency and all development schemes which are announced may reach grassroots level so that people who have shown exemplary faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi get stronger.

People of J&K are looking forward to the new Modi government to stick to its assurance to abrogate Art 370 and 35A as is included in the ‘Sankalp Patr’. What is your take on it?
Both these constitutional provisions are against the state’s development as they have done more harm than good. We are very confident that soon a decision will be taken on the abrogation of Article 35A which has been a backdoor entry into the Constitution without any presidential order on it. For Article 370, we need a majority government in the state, thereafter it will be easy to be abrogated.

The state BJP has recently claimed to provide legal and constitutional recognition of rights to Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir refugees which are under illegal occupation of Pakistan. What would be the course?
India will adopt all ways and means to reclaim its territories which are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre is committed to extending justice to the displaced refugees. Besides, there is an immediate need to consolidate world focus on this pressing need that is long pending. It will be more benefiting if the issue is resolved before state Assembly elections so that their participation is ensured which will add to increased number of seats for the Jammu province. Of the 24 Assembly seats ‘reserved’ for people living in areas of J&K occupied by Pakistan, at least eight seats should be released in favour of the displaced persons.

Though there has been a strong retaliation from the government to Pakistan’s mischief, cross-border firing is still a concern in your constituency. Bunkers and 5-marla plots for border villages have yet not been taken up.
Cross-border terrorism, infiltration and firing from Pakistan have been a regular feature from across the border. Under NDA I, the Centre gave a befitting reply to Pakistan. Same will be done more vigorously if any misadventure comes again. We are providing bunkers in a phased manner on the IB and LoC and nearly 70 per cent have been completed. 5-marla plots are under government consideration and I am very hopeful that under the second term, this issue will also be addressed.

What were your major achievements during 2014-2019?
In my last tenure, I brought six Central road projects, including the one related to the construction of three major bridges in the constituency. The national highway project worth Rs 5,100 crore was brought from the Centre. It included four-laning for Akhnoor and double laning for Poonch district. Besides bunker constructions, recruitment of border youth in armed forces was done exhaustively. Five battalions were engaged in the recruitment process which included 60 per cent of border youth getting inducted into forces. Earlier, there was no provision under the SRO 43 for such recruitment.