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Congress Working Committee meeting divided on Kashmir

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Larger group will meet on August 9 to reinforce the party’s ideological stand.

With open division coming to the fore at the Congress Working Committee meeting on revocation of Article 370 on Tuesday, a meeting of a larger group has been called on Friday to reinforce the party’s ideological stand on Kashmir.

The CWC meeting on Tuesday night saw a heated debate between the old guard and the young leaders. Two CWC members, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Deepender Hooda, had already articulated their view supporting the revocation of Article 370.

Party insiders say this issue will have far greater and long-term political impact than the demonetisation had because of the support on the ground for the government’s move.

A circular issued on Wednesday by General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal has called all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, heads of various departments under the All-India Congress Committee, all general secretaries, State unit heads and Congress legislative party leaders for a meeting.

 

There was no harm in a democratic party having divergent views, Mr. Venugopal told The Hindu. “It is true that there were divergent views and that is the very essence of a democratic party. We had a three-hour long thread bare discussion, at the end of which we came up with a unanimous and concrete resolution. Friday’s meeting has been called to convey this very position,” he added.

The meeting would also formulate a policy to deal with the political implication of this decision.

At the CWC meet, according to sources, Mr. Scindia and Mr. Hooda’s line found many takers, with the likes of former UPA Ministers Jitin Prasada and R.P.N. Singh backing them. Sources said that Mr. Prasada suggested that there whatever view that the party took should be communicated to the voters. “He said if the party was opposed to the idea, then it should hold rallies across the country conveying its stand to a larger audience,” a CWC member said.

Outgoing president Rahul Gandhi, who heard out all the sides, said that persons from North East, Southern States, Northern States and Kashmir would have divergent views on the issue and the party should reflect these views.

 

Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been vocally against the government’s action, spoke at length about the historical reasons behind Article 370. Former Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who largely authored the CWC resolution, talked about the technical flaws in the process by which the government brought about the legislation.

In the end, there was a broad unanimity on two issues. One, the manner in which the legislation was brought in, which was reflected in the resolution, and two, dismembering and reducing the State to a Union Territory. “It deserved to be honoured until it was amended, after consultation with all sections of the people, and strictly in accordance with the Constitution of India,” the CWC resolution said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:56:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-working-committee-meeting-divided-on-kashmir/article28872512.ece

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