BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): While the opposition Congress party voted against the bill on bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in the Rajya Sabha on Monday and in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, one of its senior leaders and ex-Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia supported the Narendra Modi government’s move in national interest.
On Tuesday, as the Lok Sabha debated the J&K Reorganization Bill and the resolution that received wide public support, several Congress leaders, veteran and Young Turks, publicly backed the government’s move. They include young leaders such as Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora and Deepender Hooda.
The seniors who didn’t tow the party line were Janardan Dwivedi, Ashwani Kumar and Anil Shastri. Others who went with the BJP on Article 370 include Congress MLA in UP Aditi Singh, Rajasthan Sports Minister Ashok Chandna and party national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill.
Scindia, the four-time former Congress MP from Madhya Pradesh’s Guna seat tweeted on Tuesday evening, “I support the move on #JammuAndKashmir & #Ladakh and its full integration into union of India. Would have been better if the constitutional process had been followed. No questions could have been raised then. Nevertheless, this is in our country’s interest and I support this.”
The former Congress MP who lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from his bastion Guna to his former close aide and BJP candidate KP Yadav, however, had tweeted on Monday, “The uncertainty and fear only serves to worsen the situation. Government must be open, transparent and take people and opposition leaders into confidence! #StandwithKashmir.”
I support the move on #JammuAndKashmir & #Ladakh and its full integration into union of India.— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) August 6, 2019
Would have been better if constitutional process had been followed. No questions could have been raised then. Nevertheless, this is in our country’s interest and I support this.
Anil Shastri, son of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, said Congress must sense the mood of the people and then take a stand. “No doubt the people at large are perceiving revocation of Article 370 as a bold decision... The people are totally with the government on this issue. We opposed Mandal (reservation for backward classes) and lost UP and Bihar and should not risk now of losing India,” tweeted Shastri.
Scindia had slammed the reported house arrest of political leaders in Kashmir on Monday. “Leaders being placed under house arrest overnight, while mass hysteria and deployment of troops, both continue to rise. The situation in #Kashmir is indeed worrying. The government must make its intentions clear.”
According to party sources, there was no clarity on party’s stand when the Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad called the move as “murder of Constitution” and party MPs voted against the Bill in both the Houses. The issue also came up during a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in the Lok Sabha chaired by Sonia Gandhi.
Another senior Congress leader and ex-Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, however, was extremely critical of the BJP over the issue. Singh tweeted on Tuesday, “BJP for narrow political gains has given a free run to all those who wanted Kashmir to secede from India. May God save Kashmir and Kashmiris. We stand united with them.”.
But many in the Congress feel the party needs to be more in sync with the aspirations and feelings of the common man, something that the BJP has been able to do successfully. From nationalism and terrorism to cultural and religious issues, the Congress appears to be out of touch with the pulse of people.
(This story was based on inputs from Richa Sharma, ENS and PTI)