The Congress Party has promised in its manifesto that nothing will be done or allowed to change the constitutional position on Kashmir. The party also said that enforcement of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir would be reviewed if the party is voted to power. The party dedicated separate sections to Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states.
The party said, it has stood witness to the developments in the state since the instrument of accession was signed on October 26, 1947. Affirming that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India, the party said, it also acknowledges the unique history of the state and the unique circumstances under which the state acceded to India that led to the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution of India. In contrary to this BJP is in favour of quashing of Article 370 as it grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s power to make laws related to the state.
The Congress said it has long held the view that dialogue is the only way to understand the aspirations of the people of the three regions of Jammu & Kashmir and find an honourable solution to their issues.
The party advocated a two-pronged approach in the state if voted to power, first uncompromising firmness on the border and ending infiltration and second, absolute fairness in dealing with the demands of the people and winning their hearts and minds.
The Congress promised to review the deployment of armed forces, move more troops to the border to stop infiltration completely, reduce the presence of the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in the Kashmir Valley, and entrust more responsibility to the Jammu and Kashmir police for maintaining law and order.
The party said that building a Union of states that is India is a project of inclusiveness. Jammu & Kashmir and its problems deserve a large-hearted approach that will eschew muscular militarism and legalistic formulations and look for an innovative federal solution. Favouring for talks without any conditions, the Congress promised a solution through dialogue with all stakeholders in the state. It said, we will appoint 3 middlemen from civil society to facilitate such talks.
Congress also promised free and fair elections to the state legislative assembly to be held immediately. The party expressed deep concern about the cases of discrimination and harassment of students, traders and others belonging to Jammu and Kashmir in the rest of India.