Few backers in Congress for Rahul Gandhi’s take on Article 370, division of Jammu & Kashmir

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Updated: August 6, 2019 7:23:51 PM

Jammu & Kashmir: Only one of five Congress chief ministers in the country retweeted Rahul Gandhi's attack on Modi government over its decision to scrap Article 370.

Rahul Gandhi, Twitter, Article 370, Special Status, Jammu & Kashmir, Modi government Amit ShahArticle 370: Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Modi government’s decision to scrap article 370 found few backers in his party.

Article 370: Modi government’s decision to revoke special status of Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution and turn it into Union territory with a legislature has further deepened the political divide within the Congress. The party which is grappling with two back-to-back Lok Sabha election defeats at the hands of its main rival, the BJP, is clearly divided over the issue. Rahul Gandhi’s tweet attacking the Union government over its decision to scrap the Article 370 hardly found any support among his party colleagues. Except Ashok Gehlot, none of the Congress chief ministers retweeted Rahul Gandhi’s two tweets attacking the Modi government over its decision to scrap Article 370. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy and Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot did not retweet Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Modi government after former Congress President broke his silence a day after Rajya Sabha passed the two bills and two resolutions.

What is more intriguing is that his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh and also his close confidant Jyotiraditya Scindia, in-charge of western Uttar Pradesh also decided to not to endorse Rahul Gandhi’s twitter attack on Modi government over the issue. Priyanka Gandhi, who is very active on social media in her criticism of Modi-Yogi governments over various issues, did not tweet anything against the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu & Kashmir.

Only Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who has over 7.5 lakh followers on his twitter handle @ashokgehlot51, forwarded Rahul Gandhi’s tweet against the decision to scrap the Article 370. On his twitter handle, Gehlot criticsed Modi government for arresting former chief ministers of the state but he did not criticise the move to scrap the Article 370.

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The decision to abrogate special status to Jammu & Kashmir is a sensitive one in Gehlot’s home state Rajasthan which sends a large number of soldiers to Indian military and paramilitary forces. Rajasthan has a sizeable population of Rajputs and Jats who join security forces in large numbers and are politically influential in the state. Any attempt by Ashok Gehlot to criticise home minister Amit Shah’s master stroke runs the risk of alinieating the large number of serving and retired defence personnel in his state.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, a known Gandhi family loyalist, who has nearly 3 lakh followers on his twitter handle @OfficeofKNath, also maintained a studied silence over the issue. He neither criticised the Union government’s move nor did he retweet Rahul Gandhi’s two tweets attacking the Modi government.

“At least two chief ministers and a deputy chief minister decided not to publicly criticise the Centre’s move to abrogate the Article 370,” a Congress leader told Financial Express Online.

The Congress leader also pointed out to Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and Sachin Pilot, deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, who decided not to tweet Rahul Gandhi’s two tweets attacking the Modi government’s decision to revoke special status given to Jammu & Kashmir. Similarly, Rahul Gandhi’s trusted lieutenant Jyotiraditya Scindia also did not retweet Rahul Gandhi’s tweet critical of NDA government’s move to convert Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh into two union territories.

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In addition to Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel, two other chief ministers: Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Pudducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy also did not endorse Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Modi government on the micro-blogging platform.

Breaking his silence over the issue, Rahul Gandhi today slammed the Modi government’s decision to scrap the Article 370, calling it an ‘abuse of executive power’ that will not further ‘national integration’.

“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,” Rahul Gandhi had said in a tweet today.

Congress leaders like Janardan Dwivedi and Deepender Hooda have openly supported the move to abrogate article 370. Janardan Dwivedi hailed the decision saying that it will ‘rectify a historic mistake’. Janardhan Dwivedi’s views find many backers within the party.

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Congress party’s chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, Bhubneshwar Kalita yesterday resigned from the party and Rajya Sabha against his party’s decision to oppose the two bills and two resolutions moved by home minister Amit Shah.

“It was a temporary provision. It was meant to be scrapped someday. I don’t think that any mid-level party leader or ordinary Congress worker will oppose the decision, How can we oppose the decision to scrap the Article 370,” a mid-level Congress leader told Financial Express Online.

“Our only concern is the manner in which it was implemented without taking anybody in confidence. It shows the government can take more unilateral decisions that is worrying for us,” added the Congress leader.

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