'Historic Step', 'Anti-People': Mixed Reactions Across Party Lines after Repeal of Article 370
New Delhi: Despite strong opposition from several political parties, the government on Tuesday scrapped the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir as Parliament passed a resolution to abrogate Article 370 with a two-third majority. With some calling it “undemocratic, anti-people” and some praising it as a “historic step”, a mixed bag of reactions were expressed soon after.
There were voices of dissent even within the Congress, as a number of leaders across the country went against the party's stand in Parliament and extended support to the bill.
In a surprise move, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also supported the bill minutes before the Lok Sabha voting, saying that it was in the interest of the country.
With the walkout of the Samajwadi Party, excluding Mulayam Singh Yadav, National Conference, Trinamool Congress, NDA ally JD(U), the opposition questioned the parties for their sincerity in opposing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill.
Explaining the reason behind him boycotting the voting in Lok Sabha, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said, “We asked if 24 seats in PoJK (Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir) will be filled if PoJK will be a part of our map after Article 370 gets revoked? If J&K is the crown of India, we should at least know the map of our crown. Our question wasn't answered, that's why we boycotted voting.”
On the other hand, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee accused the government of not following the procedural method for the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and said it was "not democratic" because the stakeholders in Kashmir were not consulted.
DMK President MK Stalin has called for an all-party meeting on August 10 to discuss the next course of action regarding the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill.
However, several leaders across party lines showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “The dream of one India that our freedom fighters saw has been completed by PM Modi & Home Minister Amit Shah today. I congratulate the residents of J&K and Ladakh.”
NCP leader Ajit Pawar praised the Centre’s step and asked it to now work towards reclaiming Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He also said its revocation would help integrate the country better.
Nagaland Governor RN Ravi said the state would not face the Jammu & Kashmir situation and the people need not worry.
Meanwhile, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das claimed that BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, was not in favour of Article 370. Das said Article 370 is not a new issue as it has been an issue for erstwhile Jan Sangh and later of the BJP, whose manifesto reiterated to do away with Article 370 and 35 A.
"This was a historic wrong of the Congress, and even their senior leaders also accept it. Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar was not in favour of Article 370," the chief minister told a press conference here.