No discussion within Congress after scrapping of Article 370: Kalita

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Guwahati | Updated: August 18, 2019 9:12:39 PM

Former Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha Bhubaneswar Kalita on Sunday alleged that it did not discuss anything with party members regarding the abrogation of provisions of Article 370, shortly after the Centre announced the move in Parliament.

Kalita had recently joined the BJP at its headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Union minister Piyush Goyal and other senior leaders (PTI)Kalita had recently joined the BJP at its headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Union minister Piyush Goyal and other senior leaders (PTI)

Former Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha Bhubaneswar Kalita on Sunday alleged that it did not discuss anything with party members regarding the abrogation of provisions of Article 370, shortly after the Centre announced the move in Parliament. President Ram Nath Kovind had on August 7 declared abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution. The move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the border state into two Union territories came after both houses of Parliament passed a resolution in this regard.

Addressing a press conference here, Kalita who recently joined the BJP in support of the Centre’s move on Jammu and Kashmir, said the Congress and other opposition parties used to discuss matters of national importance with its members before taking any stand in Parliament. “There was no discussion in the Congress during abrogation of Article 370 … There was no discussion and direction from the party. I supported abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and on a personal level, I had informed the party,” Kalita said. “As a leaderless party was moving ahead without any discussion, that environment became unbearable for me. As I was the chief whip, so it was not proper for me to disobey the party. So by resigning from the Rajya Sabha, I supported abrogation of Article 370 and 35A,” he added.

Kalita had recently joined the BJP at its headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Union minister Piyush Goyal and other senior leaders. The former Congress leader, whose term in Rajya Sabha was till April 9, 2020, is the second Congress Rajya Sabha member after Sanjay Sinh, a member of the erstwhile Amethi royal family, to join the saffron party.

Kalita, the former chief of Congress’ Assam unit, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had taken various initiatives in 2014 to strengthen the country, which are now yielding results. “Economic front, international relations or peoples’ need, we have seen in last five years that many initiatives have been taken,” Kalita said. He claimed that in many of the initiatives, the Congress had either directly or indirectly helped the government. “For example, we helped the government in triple talaq bill. On these issues, there were discussions among the Congress and other opposition parties,” he added.

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