Set AIIMS at a place accessible to 3 regions of J&K: Lekhi

JAMMU, MAY 26: In a damage control mode over the reported shifting of proposed AIIMS to Kashmir region from Jammu, BJP today suggested that the medical institute must be set up at a place accessible to all three regions of the state.

"When finance minister sanctions something for a state during his budget speech, the sanction is made for the entire state and not for one particular place," BJP MP and the party's national spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said here.

"Now what I personally suggest is that AIIMS should come somewhere at the centre of Jammu and Kashmir, the place which is accessible and acceptable to all the three regions of the state (including Ladakh)," she said.

The MP said that she understands the sentiments of the people of Jammu region over the issue and would convey the same to the central leadership of the party on her return to New Delhi.

"I can understand the sentiments of the people of Jammu when Kashmir already has a medical institute. But we must not divide it in the name of Jammu and Kashmir as it is one state and the AIIMS will come up in this state," Lekhi said.

She said that the other way would be to upgrade the existing Jammu medical college to the level of the medical institute.

Meanwhile, AIIMS coordination committee, an amalgam of more than 70 social, political, religious and business organisations, have called for a day-long Jammu Bandh on May 27 to protest the reported shifting of AIIMS to Kashmir from Jammu.

It coincides with the day of the proposed visit of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Jammu and Kashmir. 

On the BJP's stand over the issue of abrogation of Article 370, Lekhi said that there has been no change in the ideology of her party as far as the removal of the Article from the constitution was concerned.

"BJP has not weakened its stand on the issue, but it is not something that can be done overnight, the debate has to start from the Legislative Assembly. People need to debate and find out the pros and cons of the Article," she said.

The MP said the people of the country and the people of the J&K must first understand what the Article has given them so far and what they have lost because of it.

To a question on the ideological differences between the ruling coalition partners in the state, she said the two parties have differences of ideology but they joined hands to give good and clean governance to the people of the state.

"We don't ask PDP to change its ideology, it is unless their own voter understand the two sides of the Article only then they can take a stand on this," she said.

She said that the debate on Article 370 has already started and people in the country were free to discuss about pros and cons of its continuation.

"The issue of Article 370 was the issue of survival and existence of the party," Lekhi said.

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