Congress calls CWC meet to discuss Article 370 after party speaks in different voices
The Congress on Tuesday rushed to firm up a united a stand on the government’s move to scrap Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after leaders spoke in different voices causing embarrassment to the party leadership.
Sonia Gandhi will chair a meeting of the Lok Sabha MPs in Parliament House in the morning and this will be followed up by a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision making body, in the evening. The action was necessitated by senior leaders hailing Home Minister Amit Shah’s bill to scrap the Article granting special status to the Himalayan state while the party was going all out to attack the government.
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Shah on Monday, in a historic move, announced in Rajya Sabha scrapping of the Article and also divided the state into two UTs. The announcement was aggressively opposed by Congress MP and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, who condemned the government’s proposal and accused it of murdering the Constitution.
But, in a discordant note the Congress whip in Rajya Sabha, Bhubaneswar Kalita, resigned over his party’s stand saying party was committing suicide by opposing the abrogation of Article 370. In a letter, Kalita said that the party leadership had asked him to issue a whip but he felt that the “whip was against the nation’s sentiments”. Thus, he said, he decided to resign from the party.
Another senior leader Janardhan Dwivedi also backed the government move to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir . Dwivedi said that Article 370 was a “mistake of history” which had been corrected.
Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora also called for putting aside political differences while adding that India’s interest should be prioritised.
“Unfortunate that Article 370 is being converted into liberal versus conservative debate. Parties should put aside ideological fixations and debate what’s best for India’s sovereignty, peace in Jammu and Kashmir, jobs for Kashmiri youth and justice for Kashmiri Pandits” Deora tweeted.
Former Congress MP Deepender Hooda also tweeted his support for the bill. “My personal view is that there isn’t a need to have Article 370 in the 21st century. The move is not only in the interest of the country but also for the benefit of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. It is the responsibility of the government to implement the move in a peaceful environment,” he wrote
These leaders left the party red faced as in parliament and outside, the Congress fielded its most-senior leaders to drive home the message that the revoking Article 370, which had been on the agenda of the BJP for decades, was driven by the saffron party’s ideology and not, national interest.
The Congress had promptly distanced itself from Dwivedi’s reported remarks. Dwivedi later told reporters that he had given an “objective” analysis that the election results of 2014 was not the victory of Modi or the BJP but defeat of the Congress.