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Many opposition leaders defied party line on Article 370

SP, TMC, BSP, NCP & JDU faced dissent over Kashmir stand.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 12, 2019, 11.00 PM IST
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BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali was not in favour of the party supporting removal of Article 370. He lost the position of party leader in the LS to first-time MP Shyam Singh Yadav.
NEW DELHI: The Congress is battling a vertical split within the party over opposing the government’s move to withdraw special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, but it is not the only opposition party caught in such a situation.

Members of several regional parties took a stand which was not in sync with the official stand of their respective parties, thereby strengthening the government’s hand and weakening the opposition further. Consider, for instance, the All India Trinamool Congress, which strongly opposed the government in both Houses of Parliament. Their leaders spoke against the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill and walked out before the voting.

However, the party’s chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, Sukhendu Shekhar Ray, took to Twitter on the same day to voice his opinion when the bill was presented in the upper House. “Decades old Comedy of Errors are (sic) being rectified now. It was a thunderbolt today. Many more in the offing? Change is the wheel of our national life. We are mortals. But the nation is not,” he wrote.

In the Bahujan Samaj Party, the party line always comes from its chief Mayawati and everyone follows it. However, party members told ET that the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha and Amroha MP, Kunwar Danish Ali, was not in favour of the party supporting removal of Article 370 in Parliament. Before that, Ali was also unhappy with the party’s decision to walk out over the triple talaq bill. Because of his stand, Ali lost the position of party leader in the Lok Sabha to first-time MP Shyam Singh Yadav.

Unlike the BSP, the JDU, a member of the BJP-led NDA, opposed the government on Article 370 in Parliament and staged a walkout during the voting on the bill. However, later the party’s Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh said that once the bill had been passed there was no point opposing it and everyone should welcome it. Earlier, another party leader, Ajay Alok, who seemed to be unhappy with the party leadership, had urged party chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on social media to rethink party’s stand on Article 370.

The Samajwadi Party also saw a sharp division on the issue, with two Rajya Sabha members, Surendra Nagar and Sanjay Seth, leaving the party just before the debate on Article 370 was initiated in the Rajya Sabha. Both the leaders joined the BJP on August 10. Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party was among the parties which walked out during voting from both the houses. However, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar came out in full support of the BJP government over the decision. He said that the decision to abolish Article 370 was necessary to keep the country intact and create communal harmony.
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