‘Mistake of history corrected’: Cong leader stuns party on Article 370 stand
Dwivedi’s move to articulate what he described as his personal opinion came after the Congress spent a larger part of Monday leading a shrinking group of opposition parties to argue against the NDA government’s move to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir.Updated: Jun 10, 2020, 07:19 IST
There were red faces in the Congress on Monday evening after its senior leader Janardan Dwivedi backed the BJP-led national coalition’s move to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. Dwivedi, 73, told news agency ANI that Article 370 was a “mistake of history” which had been corrected.
Dwivedi’s move to articulate what he described as his personal opinion came after the Congress spent a larger part of Monday leading a shrinking group of opposition parties to argue against the NDA government’s move to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
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.
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Dwivedi, who was dropped from the Congress Working Committee in a reshuffle in July last year, made no reference to the party’s stand. Instead, he recalled what he said, his first political leader and socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia’s stand.
“This is a very old issue. After Independence, there were many freedom fighters who did not want Article 370 to remain. I am not talking about the party (stand). But at an individual level, my political guru Ram Manohar Lohia ji would always speak against Article 370 and we would make this point in student and youth movements. My personal opinion is that this is a matter of national satisfaction,” he told ANI.
“A mistake of history at the time of Independence has been corrected today, albeit late. This deserves to be welcomed,” Dwivedi continued, according to news agency ANI.
This isn’t the first time that Dwivedi has taken a stand that is seen to be at variance with the party’s stand. In 2015, the Congress leader had landed in a controversy when he was perceived to praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the BJP’s performance in the 2014 national elections.
The Congress had promptly distanced itself from his 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.
On Monday, Dwivedi’s statement came after the government managed to comfortably get the resolution and bill past Rajya Sabha with 125 members voting in support. Only 61 lawmakers, mostly from the Congress and Left parties, voted against the proposal. The Trinamool Congress boycotted the vote to protest the effort to hurriedly push it. BJP ally Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United also boycotted the discussion in protest but Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party supported the government on this move.
The Congress had early on Monday suffered a setback when its Assam lawmaker and Chief Whip Bhubaneswar Kalita resigned from the party. There has been speculation that Kalita’s exit from the Congress was linked to his stand on Article 370. Kalita declined to comment, insisting that he would only give his reasons later.