If leaders of the main opposition party support a government move, the government must have done something right. Right?
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, was introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah of the BJP in both houses of the Indian Parliament.
It was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 5 August 2019 by a two-thirds majority (125:61) and subsequently passed in the Lok Sabha on 6 August 2019 by a six-seventh majority (370:70).
The 370 votes in favour of the Bill in the Lok Sabha was in itself some kind of divine signal, as the Bill automatically revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Bill proposes to reorganise the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, one to be called Jammu and Kashmir, and the other Ladakh.
The introduction of the Bill was preceded by a Presidential Order under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution declaring, inter alia, that all the provisions of the Indian Constitution would be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. This enabled the Indian Parliament to enact legislation that would rearrange the State’s organisation.
Going against the official party line of the Congress party, many senior party leaders, including Janardhan Dwivedi, Bhubaneswar Kalita (the party’s chief whip in the Rajya Sabha), Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, RPN Singh, Jitin Prasada, Randeep Hooda, Ranjeet Ranjan and Jaiveer Shergill, supported the NDA government’s move.
Even Dr. Karan Singh, son of erstwhile Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu & Kashmir, and former Sadr-i-Riyasat (President) of J&K from 1952 to 1965 and then the state’s governor from 1965 to 1967, supported to moves to make Ladakh a separate UT and also to remove Article 35A.
In my living memory, I don’t remember so many senior party leaders going against the official party line on any issue. Clearly, Congress party’s troubles are far beyond just finding a successor to Rahul Gandhi.