India’s Congress explains stand on Article 370 to party leaders

IANS . New Delhi | Update:

Indian security force personnel stand guard in a deserted street during restrictions after the government scrapped special status for Kashmir, in Srinagar on 8 August 2019. Photo: Reuters

Congress leaders of India on Friday met in New Delhi to discuss the party's stand on the BJP-led central government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the constitution and the repercussions of the government's move on Kashmir.

In a big triumph for the government, both the Houses of the Parliament earlier this week passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, and adopted the resolution to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A granting special status to J&K, paving way for the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories (UTs) -- Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh sans one.

Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal told IANS, "Basically this was the extension of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting involving all the general secretaries, state in-charges and MPs to make the stand of the party clear to all the leaders."

Indian security personnel walk on a street in Srinagar on 9 August 2019, as widespread restrictions on movement and a telecommunications blackout remained in place after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy. Photo: AFPVenugopal said more than 22-23 persons spoke on the issue and the party leaders appreciated the stand taken by the Congress on the revocation of Article 370.

To a question that many party leaders have differed on the Centre's move on Kashmir, he said, "We are a democratic party and we are going to hear the opinion of all the party leaders. We are not a party like the BJP which bulldozes the voice of its leaders."

Another senior party leader said that a powerpoint presentation was made on the repercussions of revoking Article 370 in the long run.

On Tuesday, the Congress' Jammu and Kashmir policy planning group under the chairmanship of former prime minister Manmohan Singh had met to decide the party's stand on Article 370, hours before the Congress Working Committee met to discuss the issue.

The meeting was attended by several senior party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, P. Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Shashi Tharoor, among others.

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