JAMMU — Raking up a fresh debate over Article 370 and the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir state, the Congress party’s chief spokesperson Jairam Ramesh on Friday said the bill passed on August 5, 2019 (Jammu Kashmir Reorganization Bill 2019) in the Parliament was not followed in a democratic way and it was ‘forcefully’ imposed.
Replying to a question during a presser in Jammu’s Kathua, Ramesh, as per the news agency KNO, said, “Revocation of Article 370 was done in an unconstitutional and undemocratic way because they (BJP) have the majority in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.”
Ramesh was speaking to media persons at a press conference at Chadwal village of Kathua district where the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra is staying for a night.
The Congress leader said that there was no discussion, no cross-examination of the bill and it was forcefully passed, as the ruling government misused its power of the absolute majority. “Jammu and Kashmir was a full-fledged state, which was degraded to union territory, and Congress party is totally against this. We demand resumption of the democratic process in J&K and the statehood status with dignity,” he said.
Ramesh further added that BJP revoked Article 370, “but in our country, our Constitution has the provision of Article 371 in many states including Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, some areas of states like Assam and Karnataka, with special provisions.”
He said that “our country’s Constitution is so diverse that it provides special provisions within the state but in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, it was abruptly revoked undemocratically.”
On the restoration of Article 370, he said, “You are talking about Article 370 and I am talking about Article 371. Under Article 371, many states of our country and many areas of our country are given special provisions.” He said this in reply to a question about Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti’s demand for the restoration of Article 370.
Furthermore, he said in states like Nagaland, Article 371 states that no act of Parliament would apply to the state of Nagaland in matters relating to religious or social practices of Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.
He said the Bharat Jodo Yatra is against economic inequality, social polarisation, and political dictatorship.
On Indo-Pak talks, Ramesh said, “Everybody wants to have a peaceful dialogue with Pakistan but only on the condition that they should stop terrorism. Talks and terrorism cannot go together.”
On participation of a large number of people in the Yatra despite rains, he called it a “healthy sign” in Jammu.
Ramesh also said the Congress party has invited 23 heads of national political parties to join Rahul Gandhi at the National Flag hoisting ceremony in Srinagar when the Yatra culminates at Lal Chowk on January 29-30. He said Bharat Jodo Yatra is launched with a motive to highlight increasing economic inequality, social polarisation and political dictatorship in India due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies.
On Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Democratic Azad Party, Ramesh said, “Azad is 100 percent B team of BJP. His party is almost finished before taking off. The ‘ranneeti’ of Modi-Shah has failed in Jammu and Kashmir.”
On the difference between the ideologies of BJP and Congress, he termed it as ‘clash of ideologies’, stating, “Congress is not only a voting machine but gave Constitution and modern India while contrary to that, BJP took the nation completely on a different path.”
He further revealed that from January 26 to March 26, Congress is launching a two-month-long ‘Haath Se Haath Jodo Abhiyan’. “During this campaign, Congress will aggressively visit door-to-door all over the country to inform people on documents ready in the shape of ‘chargesheet on Modi govt’s failure’ that will be released tomorrow at Delhi,” Ramesh.
Meanwhile, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson, Ravinder Sharma also thanked Dogra Swabhiman Sanghathan Party Chief, Choudhary Lal Singh for extending support to Bharat Jodo Yatra. He criticized the present government on recent target killings in the valley.
JKPCC President, Vikar Rasool Wani said, “We are thankful to people for giving a grand reception to our leader at Lakhanpur. The Yatra will reach Jammu on January 23 and the next day will start March from Nagrota.”
Thereafter, a 12-km ‘Padyatra’ will begin from Udhampur followed by a night stay at Ramban and after covering a few kilometers at Banihal, the Yatra will enter Srinagar. “Many deputations will be meeting Rahul Gandhi in both the regions and highlighting the issues of Jammu and Kashmir on which the BJP government has failed on all fronts,” Wani said.
Congress MP and incharge J&K Affairs Rajni Patil, senior leader Digvijay Singh and others too were present at the press conference. A theme song on ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ was also released in the regional Dogri language on the occasion.
Bharat Jodo Yatra started on September 7 from Kanyakumari and is expected to culminate on January 29-30 at Srinagar.
Earlier in the morning, Rahul Gandhi resumed the Yatra from Hatli Morh in Kathua district that halted at Chadwal village. Tight security arrangements are made for the Yatra while the traffic department has also issued an advisory for the vehicular movement on the highway.