Article 370: Congress Rajya Sabha chief whip resigns to protest against party’s stand

I was asked by the party to issue a whip but this is against the mood of the nation, says Bhubaneshwar Kalita

Updated - June 08, 2020 10:35 pm IST

Published - August 05, 2019 05:59 pm IST - New Delhi

The party as it is on its way towards destruction and I can’t be a contributor to it, said Bhubaneshwar Kalita.

The party as it is on its way towards destruction and I can’t be a contributor to it, said Bhubaneshwar Kalita.

The strength of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha is down to 100 with two more resignations on Monday after Congress chief whip Bhubaneshwar Kalita and Samajwadi Party member Sanjay Seth resigned. On Friday, another Samajwadi Party member, Surendra Singh Nagar, had quit.

Mr. Kalita, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 2014, would have retired next April. His resignation came on a day when the government had brought in the J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019. The Congress benches were in for a shock this morning when Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu announced the three resignations. Mr. Seth and Mr. Kalita resigned on Monday morning while Mr. Nagar resigned on August 2.

Senior Congress MPs said they had no inkling of Mr. Kalita’s move. “He was supposed to be the first speaker during the zero hour. He quit on the day when the party needed him the most,” a top party MP said.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Kalita said that he has not yet decided his next step. “I am totally disillusioned with these developments and therefore I thought I should not continue in Rajya Sabha,” he said.

On the possibility of his joining BJP, he said that he had to discuss the matter with his friends and supporters.

Mr. Seth, a confidant of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, was nominated to the Upper House in July 2016. The SP had tried to nominate him multiple times to the legislative council in Uttar Pradesh but was vetoed by then Governor Ram Naik due to criminal cases against him, an SP MP said.

With these three resignations, the opposition numbers have further whittled down. Congress is now down to 46 and Samajwadi Party down to 10 in the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition on paper is now down to 100 members.

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