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Published On: Sun, Aug 18th, 2019

B S Hooda says Congress has ‘lost its way’ backs Article 370

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1566124180-bhupinder_singh_hoodaNEW DELHI/ROHTAK : Senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday raised eyebrows today by declaring support for the government’s move to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir – deviating widely from the party line ahead of the coming elections in the state.
“(Article) 370 was removed and many of my colleagues opposed it. My party has lost its way a bit. It is not the old Congress any more. When it comes to issues of patriotism and self-respect, I will never compromise.
His sharp criticism of the Congress on that score triggered speculation whether he was on his way out of the party he served for more than four decades. The 71-year-old, however, said he would not quit the party, but constitute a committee of 13 MLAs who would decide the future course of action.
He further fuelled the rumours of a potential rift between the national and Haryana leadership of Congress when he slammed the grand old party for ‘losing its way’.  The former Haryana chief minister added that the Congress is not the same party it used to be before. He also lauded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
While addressing a rally in Rohtak, Hooda asserted that he supports the government’s decision to revoke the special status from the Valley, however, many of his colleagues opposed the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370.
He then said that when it comes to patriotism and self-respect, he will not compromise with anyone. “My party has lost its way, it’s not the same Congress it used to be before,” said the ex-Haryana CM.

“I was born in a patriotic family, those who oppose the abrogation of Article370, I want to tell them ‘usulon par jahan aanch aaye, vahan takrana zaruri hai added Hooda.
However, Hooda was quick to add that he supported the Centre’s move because many soldiers hailing from Haryana are posted in Jammu and Kashmir. He reminded the Manohar Lal Kattar-led Haryana government that it cannot hide behind the Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370 as the state government will soon have to give an account of its regime of the last five years.

Haryana Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in November this year. The current term of the state Assembly expires on November 2, 2019. Back in the 2014 Assembly elections, BJP had won 47 seats in the 90-seat Assembly and formed the government in the state. Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) was the runner-up with 18 seats while the Congress stood at the third spot with 17 seats to its name.
” Bhupinder Hooda said at a political rally in Haryana’s Rohtak. His son Deepender Singh Hooda also spoke on the same lines, and even indicated that he has reservations about the “method” adopted by the government.
“I have always kept national interest above political one… let’s talk of Article 370… It was a temporary settlement… I opposed the way it was scrapped, but I support its removal. I will always support this… but people who are using this for political mileage – I am not with them,” Huda junior, a former MP.
The Hoodas’ sudden divergence from the party line is seen as move to arm twist the party. Over the last weeks, their supporters have been demanding that the former Chief Minister be made the chief of its state unit, replacing Ashok Tanwar, who currently holds the post.

Over the last week, there has been a buzz that both father and son would announce anytime that they are quitting the party. But the situation stabilised after Sonia Gandhi was named as the party’s interim chief, said insiders of the faction-ridden state unit.

The Congress has been out of power in Haryana for five years, having lost to the BJP amid factionalism and accusations of corruption against the government led by Mr Hooda. But with roughly two months to go for the elections, its campaign is yet to get off the ground amid the crisis over the leadership issue at the national level.
Last week — more than two months after Rahul Gandhi decided to step down from the top post — his mother Sonia Gandhi was named the party’s interim chief.
Over the last weeks, the vacuum at the top and the party’s inability to fill it has upset a large section of leaders. No formal stance was decided on a number of issues, including the government’s move on Jammu and Kashmir, which led to several senior leaders, including Rahul Gandhi’s close aide Jyotiraditya Scindia, expressing public support for the step.(With Inputs from Agency).

 

 

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