Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday supported the Centre’s decision to remove special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir and to bifurcate it into two Union Territories. He is the eighth member to go against the party’s stand.
“I support the move on #JammuAndKashmir & #Ladakh and its full integration into union of India,” Scindia wrote in a tweet. “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,” the party general secretary added.
The Congress has opposed the government’s decision, and said that political parties will fight the Centre’s move and stand with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Rajya Sabha on Monday adopted the resolution on Article 370 of the Constitution be revoked. The Upper House of Parliament also passed a bill to split the state into two Union territories – one, Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and the other, Ladakh, without one. The Lok Sabha passed it on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Congress lawmakers Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi held a meeting to discuss the party’s stand amid differing voices within. “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,” Sonia Gandhi said, according to NDTV.
Some of the other Congress members who have deviated from the party’s stand are Janardan Dwivedi, Deepender Hooda, Jaiveer Shergill and Mumbai Congress Chief Milind Deora, Uttar Pradesh MLA Aditi Singh and Bhubaneswar Kalita.
Congress MLA from Rae Bareli Aditi Singh on Tuesday said: “I am in absolute support of the decision”, PTI reported. “It will help in integrating J&K into the mainstream,” Singh was quoted as saying by the news agency. “It’s a historic decision. It will also address the security concerns in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Dwivedi on Monday welcomed the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and said even though it came late, a historical mistake had been corrected.
Hooda also supported the government and said: “I’ve always maintained that #Article370 should be scrapped. It has no place in the 21st century.”
“I support abrogation of Art 370 (as opening words say it’s temporary) but Only & Only in accordance with provisions & methodology provided by the Constitution of India which mandates consent of J&K State Assembly - any other way is Unconstitutional,” Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill wrote on Twitter on Monday.
Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora said it was “very unfortunate” that Article 370 was being converted into a “liberal vs conservative debate”.
Bhubaneswar Kalita, who is Congress whip in Rajya Sabha, resigned on Monday night after he disagreed with the party’s stand on Article 370 as it was “against the mood and emotions of the nation”.
Opposition parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party, Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress Party, Bodoland People’s Front and Aam Aadmi Party also supported the move on Monday. Apart from the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and BJP ally Janata Dal (United) were against the decision.
Article 370 of the Constitution, passed in October 1949, exempts Jammu and Kashmir from all but two articles of the Indian Constitution – Article 1, which lists the states and Union territories of India, and the Article 370 itself. It allows the state to have its own Constitution and limits the Parliament’s legislative powers over the state.