"The BJP is backtracking on its core issue of Article 370. Why have they sent Article 370 to cold storage during the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir," senior Congress leader Ambika Soni told.

Soni, who is in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir, said, "It was their core issue. The BJP has shunned this issue in Assembly polls. This is for people to take notice of," she said.

Taking a dig at Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's remark that Article 370 was a matter of a debate, she said, "Singh can hold as many debates as he likes, but he cannot even change a comma or full spot of it (Article 370). It can be done only by state Assembly."

Soni was reacting to Rajnath Singh's today's statement at a public meeting in Paddar and Bhaderwah that the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution is a national issue and should not be raked up during Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

"It (Article 370) is (a) national issue. It is debatable. The BJP's stand on it is clear. There is no need to rake up this issue during Assembly polls...," Singh said at a public meeting in remote Paddar belt of Kishtwar district.

Addressing a rally in Bhaderwah, Singh said, "The Assembly elections are not the right platform to debate on this issue (abrogation of Article 370)".

"Article 370 is a national issue which has to be debated at the national level... The people from Jammu and Kashmir too have the right to discuss this issue," he said.

Singh, who is campaigning in support of his party candidates Sunil Sharma in Kishtwar Assembly seat and Daleep Kumar in Bhaderwah, asked political parties not to rake up the issue during Assembly elections for vote bank politics.

Soni also accused BJP of having "secret" parlays with separatists in Kashmir.

"They are fooling people of country by secret parlays. Totally unfair and under-the-table activities. They were criticising Congress for even holding transparent and in-public peace initiatives, including roping in Hurriyat", she said.

"The way they are doing it is shameful and I condemn it," Soni said.

Attacking BJP further, Soni alleged that the party was playing vote bank politics in Jammu and Kashmir to achieve its 'Mission 44+'.

"BJP has realised that 'Mission 44+' is a failure. So they are playing vote bank politics to achieve 'Mission 44+' in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls," Soni told reporters.

"With a target to form the next government in J&K, unfortunately, they have created an illusion on this issue and are playing petty politics to achieve the target.

"Whether it is Ladakh, Jammu or Kashmir regions, the saffron party is politicising certain issues to achieve its mission besides hobnobbing secretly with those whom they criticised in the past."

The AICC general secretary said those who left BJP after they were denied tickets, were being called back.

"People running NGOs, academicians and professionals are being given mandate in the Kashmir Valley by BJP only to play vote bank politics," she claimed.

Asserting that Congress believed in equal distribution of resources and development in all the three regions, Soni said "We are fighting elections to win and will form the next government in J&K."

Another senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also asked people to give full mandate to the party, saying coalition experiences have been "bad" in Jammu and Kashmir.

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