Former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A S Dulat said that Article 370 had finished when Sheikh Abdullah signed an accord with Indira Gandhi in 1975 and it was only a ‘fig leaf’ that was left in it.
In an interview with The Print, Dulat, whose latest book titled ‘A Life in the Shadows’ was recently released, said that Article 370 had finished in 1975 when Sheikh Abdullah signed an accord with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. “Everything was gone then. Even Sheikh had said there was nothing left in Art 370. It was only a fig leaf…,” Dulat said.
Speaking on the future of assembly election arithmetics in J-K, Dulat also didn’t even rule out the option of the National Conference (NC) joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in case there is a fractured mandate in the upcoming assembly election in the erstwhile state.
Farooq Abdullah is ready to do a deal with the BJP, Dulat argued, adding that the NC may have no option but to go with the BJP. “NC would rather have an alliance with Congress. But if the Congress doesn’t get sufficient seats in Jammu, and NC is left isolated in the valley, then they may have no option then to go with the BJP,” Dulat said.
Meanwhile, referring to Dulat’s assertion that the NC can form the government with the BJP, National Conference spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar told that the party can’t respond to someone’s “predictions.” “Somebody is predicting something (that NC will ally with the BJP),” Dar said. “What can we say about it? Let people predict whatever they feel.”
On being asked how Abdullah will ally with the BJP after what he and his son were detained on 5 August 2019, Dulat said senior Abdullah is a practical politician, and is willing to understand if the BJP extends a warm hand towards him. “He (Farooq) has always been with Delhi. He doesn’t like swimming against the tide. He will be with Delhi again. It is Delhi that doesn’t understand him. When has he not been with Delhi.
“There is no love lost today between Farooq and Modi, but trust can be built If the BJP were to extend a warm hand to Farooq Abdullah, he is willing to understand. He is a very practical politician,” Dulat said.
On 5 August 2019, New Delhi, through a presidential order, scrapped J-K’s limited autonomy and divided the state into two Union Territories (UT) – J-K and Ladakh. Since the PDP-BJP government fell in 2018 after the BJP pulled out support, the assembly elections have not been held in the union territory.