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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

‘Comedy of errors rectified’: TMC leader on Art 370 move his party opposes

In a cryptic tweet, Ray seemed to describe the NDA government’s Kashmir initiative as a thunderbolt and wondered if more were on the way. “Change is the wheel of our national life.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2019 16:18 IST
Sunetra Choudhury
Sunetra Choudhury
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Trinamool Congress had boycotted voting in the Rajya Sabha yesterday to protest what its senior leader Derek O’ Brien called was “procedural hara-kiri” and “constitutional immorality”
The Trinamool Congress had boycotted voting in the Rajya Sabha yesterday to protest what its senior leader Derek O’ Brien called was “procedural hara-kiri” and “constitutional immorality”(Samir Jana/HTFile Photo)
         

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, a senior lawmaker from Mamata Banerjee’s party Trinamool Congress, appeared to join the growing list of opposition leaders who backed the NDA government’s huge move to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status contrary to their party’s stand.

“Decades old Comedy of Errors are being rectified now,” Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, who is also the Trinamool Congress’s Chief Whip, tweeted after the Rajya Sabha passed the bill and resolution to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

In a cryptic tweet, Ray seemed to describe the NDA government’s Kashmir initiative as a thunderbolt and wondered if more were on the way. “Change is the wheel of our national life. We are mortals. But the nation is not. We must not sing Yesterday Once More. Let it be today and tomorrow,” he tweeted.

Also read: ‘We will die for Kashmir’, says Amit Shah during debate on Article 370

The Trinamool Congress had boycotted voting in the Rajya Sabha yesterday to protest what its senior leader Derek O’ Brien called was “procedural hara-kiri” and “constitutional immorality”.

Asked if the tweet by the TMC’s Chief Whip reflected the party stand, Derek O’ Brien pointed to a statement put out by the Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that, he said, spelt out the party line.

In this statement, Banerjee made it clear that the Trinamool Congress could not support or vote for the bill moved by the NDA government that was being pushed through Parliament without taking the stakeholders into confidence.

“We cannot support this bill. We cannot vote for this bill. They should have spoken to all political parties and the Kashmiris. If you need to arrive at a permanent solution, then you have to talk to all stakeholders,” Banerjee said, according to news agency ANI.

 ‘Will give life for Kashmir,’ Amit Shah pans Congress on article 370

The Bengal Chief Minister also put out an appeal directed at the Centre. She underscored that former J&K chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were not terrorists and should be released in the interest of democratic institutions.

When Hindustan Times reached out to Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, the senior Trinamool Congress MP declined to clarify on his tweet vis-à-vis the party line. “I have tweeted what I have. My tweet doesn’t need any clarification. You may interpret as you wish,” he said, adding that he was “new to Twitter and learning”.

The government move on Kashmir had caught opposition parties off guard on Monday and struggled to put up an effective front after Union home minister Amit Shah introduced in the House a Constitutional order, a statutory resolution, and a bill, that together revoked the special status granted to the state of Jammu & Kashmir and its permanent residents, and also sought to bifurcate the state into two union territories.

The smooth passage of the bill signals disarray in the Opposition ranks — the government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha and the general expectation was that it would start having its way in the Upper House only in late 2020. Instead, it has managed to pass all the bills it wanted to in the House.

But the move to revoke Article 370 has also led to divisions within other opposition parties such as the Congress. After several party leaders went public calling for a rethink within the party on its stand on Article 370 or welcoming the government’s move, the Congress has called a meeting of its top decision-making body to firm up its stand and its strategy.

First Published: Aug 06, 2019 15:48 IST

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