Congress divided, isolated over Article 370

Congress divided, isolated over Article 370

Agency News

The confusion and difference of opinions inside Congress came out public on Monday and it continued on Tuesday after the Modi Government decided to repeal Article 370 and bifurcate the Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

While it led protests in parliament on Monday against the BJP government's move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir,, Senior Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi supported the move. The confusion in Congress continued on Tuesday in Lok Sabha where Ashish Ranjan has created a furore by asking ‘Is Jammu and Kashmir India’s internal matter?’ Sources say even Congress leader Sonia Gandhi too got shocked over Ashish Ranjan’s slip of tongue.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi made a rather belated response on Twitter 24 hours after Amit Shah presented the Jammu and Kashmir Bill in Rajya Sabha. In his response on Twitter, Rahul said: “National integration isn’t furthered by unilaterally tearing apart J&K, imprisoning elected representatives and violating our Constitution. This nation is made by its people, not plots of land.”

But at the same time, former Congress MP Deepender S Hooda also supported the BJP Government’s move. In a tweet Hooda said: "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."

Hailing the Modi Government’s move to scrap Article 370, Janardhan Dwivedi said on Monday “a historic blunder had been remedied today." Janardan Dwivedi also said that his political guru Ram Manohar Lohia was always against Article 370.

While Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad described the government move as 'catastrophic'. At the same time, giving Congress another shock, its chief whip Bhubaneswar Kalita resigned from the membership of the House opposing the party's stand on Article 370.

"Today's Congress is treading a path as if it wants to commit suicide and I do not want to be a party to this," Kalita said adding "I will not follow the whip".

Reflecting another shade of opinion, former Union Minister and Congress leader in Mumbai - Milind Deora also took a different line and said:

"Very unfortunate that Article 370 is being converted into a liberal vs conservative debate". He tweeted saying: "Parties should put aside ideological fixations and debate what’s best for India’s sovereignty and federalism, peace in J&K, jobs for Kashmiri youth and justice for Kashmiri Pandits". Another Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi also said abrogation of the Article 370 was a right decision.

Capping up the confusion prevailed within Congress, Congress leader Manish Tewari said that the opinion of Congress is not just black and while, but 50 shades of grey in between. Manish Tewari’s interesting reply came up as an answer to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s query. Amit Shah asked: “"I just want a little bit of clarity from Manishji," Amit Shah said. "He didn't say whether the Congress supports the scrapping of Article 370 or not. Please make this clear." To this Manish Tewari said: "Angreezi ki ek kitaab hai... har cheez kaali ya safed nahi hoti... there are 50 shades of grey in between." [There is a book in English... not everything is black or white... there are 50 shades of grey in between.]

Tewari was of course referring to 50 Shades of Grey in the 2011 erotic novel by EL James. Anyway, the abrogation of Article 370 has finally opened up the different shades of grey within Congress.