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Published On: Tue, Aug 6th, 2019

Article 370, J&K bifurcation: Congress split wide open, Rahul expresses his inability to call CWC meeting

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Rahul--01_20170604_600_855_630_630NEW DELHI : Rahul Gandhi has expressed his inability to call a meeting of Congress leaders to sink the differences among party leaders over the abrogation of Articles 370, 35A in Jammu and Kashmir, reports said on Tuesday.
On being questioned about the divide within the ranks on the scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir and the possibility of an emergency meet of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to sink differences, Rahul said he can’t call a meeting of Congress leaders as he is no more the party president.

The Gandhi scion, who used to attack the BJP and Narendra Modi during the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, has maintained a stoic silence over the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A. Rahul had quit as Congress president in May owning the party’s election debacle.
Chinks appeared in the Congress’ armour after Congress’ chief whip Bhubaneshwar Kalita’s resigned on Monday from the membership of the House opposing the party’s stand on the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the J&K. Refusing to accept Congress whip, Kalita said the ideology of Congress today looks like it is committing suicide and he doesn’t want to be a part of it. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaih Naidu accepted Kalita’s resignation.

In a double whammy for the Congress, Kalita’s resignation came at a time on Monday when Ghulam Nabi Azad was attacking the BJP over the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the J&K. Terming Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s move explosion of an atom bomb, Azad said Jammu and Kashmir’s head, considered India’s crown, has been “chopped off” and its identity removed.

While the Congress was among the parties that called the government’s move “murder of democracy”. Senior Congress leader, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, has openly admitted that the party has been politically outwitted as they are among four or five parties alone that have opposed it. “We have been politically outwitted as we are among four or five parties alone that have opposed it.

I wouldn’t say we didn’t know about it because I think everybody in our party, from Ghulam Nabi Azad to P Chidambaram, have been talking about it for the last one week. It was the closest to an open secret, but obviously one could not be sure. But yes we are now in a very small number of parties which argued and opposed and voted against it, but a democracy is a democracy… you have to go by the numbers,” Singhvi said,.
The government’s move to end special status to J&K under Article 370 has split the Congress down the middle. Lok Sabha lawmakers met with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi today before the Kashmir move was taken up in the lower house, in an attempt to present a stronger, united front.
Sources say Sonia Gandhi, presented with the options to support or oppose the move, said “We will oppose it and our opposition is based on the manner in which the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the state assembly, have not been consulted.”
On Monday, the bill to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories sailed through Rajya Sabha, where the government is short of a majority, with several opposition parties walking out and others siding with the government, like Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress, N Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party.
While the party’s Rajya Sabha members like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal blasted the move in the house, calling it “murder of democracy”, and Congress MPs in Lok Sabha staged a walkout led by Sonia Gandhi, outside parliament several Congress leaders came out in support of it, calling it their “personal” view.
“My Personal Point of View : I support abrogation of Art 370 (as opening words say it’s temporary) but Only and Only in accordance with provisions and methodology provided by the Constitution of India which mandates consent of J&K State Assembly -any other way is Unconstitutional,” tweeted Jaiveer Shergill.

Taking a neutral stand, Mumbai Congress leader Milind Deora tweeted: “Very unfortunate that Article 370 is being converted into a liberal vs conservative debate. Parties should put aside ideological fixations and debate what’s best for India’s sovereignty and federalism, peace in J and K, jobs for Kashmiri youth and justice for Kashmiri Pandits.”
Deepender Hooda, another Congress leader, tweeted: “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.”
(With Agency Inputs).



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