The Congress’ list of leaders dissenting against the party’s stance on Jammu and Kashmir continues to grow with one of its most prominent faces, Jyotiraditya Scindia, joining the chorus voicing support to the BJP’s move to scrap the state’s special status.
“I support the move on #JammuAndKashmir & #Ladakh and its full integration into union of India,” Scindia tweeted Tuesday evening. “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.”
Scindia joins other prominent party leaders Janardan Dwivedi, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Deepender Hooda and Milind Deora, all of whom have backed the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370.
The divide, however, is leading to fissures in the Congress as the party fumbles to get its strategy right on the issue.
The party’s Rajya Sabha leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad Tuesday said he wanted nothing to do with leaders who, he added, weren’t aware of the Congress’ history nor that of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Jin logon ko J&K ki history ya Congress ki history pata nahi, unse mujhe koi lena dena nahi hai. Wo pehle J&K aur Congress ki history padh lein, phir Congress mein rahein (I don’t want anything to do with those who have no clue of the Congress or J&K’s histories. Let them first learn of the histories of both before they can remain in the Congress),” Azad told the media outside the Parliament Tuesday.
No action against the differing voices has been formulated yet but senior leaders told ThePrint that the issue is likely to come up at Congress Working Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening. The CWC, the party’s apex decision-making body, is convening to discuss the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
The Lok Sabha passed the resolution to revoke the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday.
The Congress dissenters
Senior Congress leader Dwivedi kicked up a storm Monday when he said that by moving to revoke Article 370, the BJP government had “corrected a historical mistake”.
It set off a flood of Congress leaders supporting the decision.
Rajya MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi told ThePrint that the move could be viewed as a “political masterstroke” but he, however, has questioned its legality.
The party’s former Mumbai unit president, Milind Deora, tweeted his backing.
“Very unfortunate that Article 370 is being converted into a liberal vs conservative debate,” Deora tweeted Monday. “Parties should put aside ideological fixations & debate what’s best for India’s sovereignty & federalism, peace in J&K, jobs for Kashmiri youth & justice for Kashmiri Pandits.”
Congress leader from Haryana and former MP Deepender Hooda too got onto the bandwagon. “I’ve always maintained that #Article370 should be scrapped. It has no place in the 21st century,” he tweeted.
“It makes no sense to oppose the decision,” a senior Congress leader told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity. “If you heard Amit Shah’s speech, you’d realise that even the Child Marriage Act isn’t implemented in J&K.”
The Congress’ Sports and Youth Affairs Minister in Rajasthan, Ashok Chandna, has also tweeted his support. “This is my personal view, I support the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir,” he tweeted Tuesday morning. “But the implementation of the decision must be done through peaceful means and not with high-handedness.”
The dissent has also spread to Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareli. According to ANI, Aditi Singh, the Rae Bareli Sadar MLA, termed the BJP’s move as a “historic decision”.
“I’m in absolute support of the decision. It will help in integrating J&K into the mainstream,” Singh reportedly said. “It’s a historic decision. It should not be politicised. As an MLA, in my capacity, I welcome this decision.”