Congress chief whip resigns over party's stand on Article 370
In yet another blow to the Indian National Congress, party whip in the Rajya Sabha, Bhubaneswar Kalita, resigned on Monday. Kalita quit the party due to its opposition of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. Reports suggest that the Assam MP may now join the Bharatiya Janata Party. Here's more.
On Monday morning, 68-year-old Kalita announced his resignation from the Rajya Sabha on Twitter, without mentioning the reason for his seemingly abrupt decision. According to a letter that has been circulated online, Kalita later clarified that he resigned after the party leadership asked him to issue a whip on the Kashmir matter, which, he believes is against the public sentiment in India.
Saying that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had himself opposed Article 370, Kalita stated, "The rationale behind the Congress today gives the impression that the party wants to commit suicide and I do not wish to be a part of this." He added, "The Congress leadership today is working towards the total destruction of the party. I believe, no one can save this party from destruction."
Congress Chief Whip Bhuvaneshwar Kalita quits party over Article 370 stand. Says, he was asked by party to issue Whip but this is against the mood and emotions of the nation. Says he quits the party as the party is on way towards destruction. Huge. Embarrassment for Congress. pic.twitter.com/txxQKJoPrf— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) August 5, 2019
Sources told Northeast Now that Kalita would soon be joining the rival BJP. Interestingly, another Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Sanjay Singh, had resigned on July 30 from the Rajya Sabha and the party. Singh later joined the BJP.
On Monday, Home Minister Amit Shah had proposed the revocation of Article 370 of Indian Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill has been passed by Rajya Sabha. The state of J&K would be bifurcated into two Union Territories: J&K (with a legislature) and Ladakh (without a legislature).
Speaking in support of the Centre's move to scrap Article 370, BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha, Subramanian Swamy, said getting Pakistan occupied Kashmir back should be next on the government's agenda. He also tweeted, "Article 370 died today. Collaterally so Article 35A."
However, the Opposition condemned the scrapping of Article 370. Congress MP and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the government of murdering the Indian Constitution. Meanwhile, two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MPs, Mir Fayaz and Nazir Ahmed Laway, tore up the Constitution in protest, urging chairman Venkaiah Naidu to direct Marshalls to escort them out of the House.
Anticipating unrest in the valley ahead of the announcement to abrogate Article 370, the Centre had imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in some parts of Srinagar on Sunday night and barred mobile, broadband internet, and cable TV services. Over 35,000 parliamentary troops were also deployed across the state. State leaders including Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, and Sajad Lone were placed under house arrest.