Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, appears to be clutching at straws and lying outright to defend his party’s conduct towards the political restructuring in Jammu & Kashmir. Today he claimed that the Congress party voted in favour of the bill to abrogate Article 370 but were only against the manner in which it was done.
Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh: Congress party voted in favor of bill to abrogate Art 370, not against it. We believe Art 370 is a temporary measure but if a change has to be brought, it should be with goodwill of people of J&K. Manner in which it was implemented is what we opposed. pic.twitter.com/8OAP4PHkqZ
— ANI (@ANI) October 17, 2019
In reality, the working committee of the Congress party had condemned the ‘undemocratic manner’ in which Article 370 was abrogated and claimed that the BJP managing to pass the Bill in the two Houses of the Parliament had ‘grave implications’ for the entire country and the ‘Idea of India’.
Resolution adopted by the Congress Working Committee on the undemocratic abrogation by the BJP Govt of Article 370 of the Constitution of India. pic.twitter.com/6yugfhL7Wk
— Congress (@INCIndia) August 6, 2019
In the Parliament, too, the Congress party had opposed the passage of the bills tooth and nail. Congress Rajya Sabha MP Bhubaneswar Katila offered his resignation after Congress said it does not support the revocation of Article 370. The Congress’ stand was despite the fact that numerous opposition parties such as the BSP and BJD supported the government’s stand on the matter.
Congress MPs had even torn the resolution abrogating Article 370 on the floor of Lok Sabha which was passed on 6th August. Before the voting, Congress MPs including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had walked out of the house, along with MPs of other parties opposing the move, like TMC and DMK.
Therefore, it’s completely ridiculous for Manmohan Singh to suggest that the party voted in favour of the bill after the working committee of his party condemned its passage. If some individual members of the Congress party did vote in favour of it, it was them going against the party line. Their conduct cannot be attributed to the party, their decision was borne of their own personal integrity or political compulsions based on the constituencies they came from.
Former Congress President, Rahul Gandhi, had taken a delegation of opposition leaders to Jammu & Kashmir during his visit to the state even after authorities had requested them to not do so due to security reasons as forces were busy providing protecting people. They were made to return eventually within an hour of their landing.
The United Kingdom representatives of the Congress party recently met with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, and “discussed the human rights situation in Kashmir.” The party’s conduct in the aftermath of the decision has been atrocious, to put it mildly.
The statement made by Manmohan Singh only reveals that the Congress party is trying too hard to reconcile the differences between its opposition towards the abrogation of Article 370 and its electoral compulsions. It is perfectly aware that it has harmed its political prospects greatly by its thoughtless opposition towards the complete integration of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of India. And now, it’s making desperate attempts at damage control.