Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday that Article 370 was the "gravest blunder" in post-Independence India and said the only unfinished agenda about Kashmir was taking back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Taking part in the debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorgsation Bill in Lok Sabha, he accused the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of not involving the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in handling the Kashmir situation for declaring unilateral ceasefire in 1948 which "prevented" Indian forces from driving out Pakist intruders from the present PoK.
"Article 370 was a miscarriage of justice. It was the gravest blunder in post-Independence India. The time for repentance has come after 70 years. We had to wait for 70 years. The good task is being done through the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah," he said.
Singh, who is Minister of State in PMO and for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, accused the PDP and National Conference of having a vested interest in the continuation of Article 370 for their political interests.
He said Nehru did not allow the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to handle the Kashmir situation which led to complications. He said Sardar Patel had handled both Hyderabad and Junagadh which saw their smooth merger with India.
"Panditji believed he knew Jammu and Kashmir better than Sardar Patel and therefore kept him out of it," he said.
As Congress member Msh Tewari accused the minister of cherry-picking, Singh hit back saying Nehru had violated the collective responsibility of the cabinet "by not involving" his home minister.
"If Nehru had not interfered, there would have been no Article 370, there would have been no PoK, there would not have been a need of this bill," he said.
Singh, who is MP from Udhampur in the Jammu region, said that when the Indian forces were driving out Pakist intruders in the 1948 war, Nehru went to All India Radio and declared a unilateral ceasefire.
"If he had not done so, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir would have been part of India," he said.
He also raised questions over India moving the United Nations on Kashmir.
Singh said Nehru himself had stated that Article 370 was temporary and asked what objections the Congress can have when the government was repealing it.
"When the Modi government is doing it, you should be thankful," he said.
He said there was no issue concerning Kashmir and the only issue remaining was how to get back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
"The next task is how to make PoK part of India," he said concluding his speech.
Singh said former state Chief Minister and National Conference leader Sheikh Abdullah had also stated in a speech in 1981 that Article 370 can be a "stumbling block".
( With inputs from ANI )