While the exuberant BJP leaders, supporters of RSS, its frontal organizations and a large number of supporters of the Modi government have lauded the decision of Narender Modi government to abrogate Article 370 and divesting Jammu – Kashmir’s statehood by division of the state into two union territories as a historical decision, being their long cherished agenda , many senior leaders and common party workers of grand old party- Congress have taken an ambivalent stand on the issue by hailing this decision.
It is quite surprising when clear-cut ideological stand on the issue was expected from the principal opposition party of India, in the absence of voices of dissent from Jammu – Kashmir with no divergent view emanating from people of the state as result of complete jamming of information and communication except the official government version, many Congress leaders have joined the BJP bandwagon.
The alacrity with which Jammu- Kashmir was divested of Article 370 on August 5, through a Presidential proclamation, quickly passed in the both houses of the parliament, the confusion among many Congress leaders was but natural. More so, since the exulted BJP leaders, RSS workers, their supporters and campaign on TV channels and social media had swayed a large number of them.
On talking to some Congress leaders their sudden reaction was no different than the BJP supporters. Considering this as a master stroke of the Modi government they looked apprehensive of losing further public support and consolidation of the BJP government.
On close examination one could sense their frustration at loss of power with subsequent defeats of Congress in several successive elections. Fearing further loss of public support many of them were accusing Congress leadership of not gauging public mood on the issue of abrogation of Article 370 with majority people supporting the government’s move.
This was not surprising since their this perception was more linked to yearn for political power by remaining as ruling party than maintaining ideological position of the Congress.
Otherwise, what else can be the reason they could not even put forth their view on ideological issue like reversing Nehru’s policy and Congress’s stand on Jammu- Kashmir?
The unprecedented clampdown in Kashmir with solitary confinement of former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and arrests of hundreds of party leaders of National Conference , PDP and other mainstream political parties of the state, they could not even dare to criticize the undemocratic manners the situation is being handled there and assault on diversity and entity of the state in the name of ending discriminatory proviso of the Article 370 , 35- A to end cross border terrorism and integration of Kashmir with India .
Majority people of Kashmir continue to be in perpetual confinement to their homes with unending restrictions on their movement no political leader of any national or regional party has been allowed access, even all party delegation comprising Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders has been sent back from Sirinagar airport.
Many Congress leaders bereft of ideology found it best opportunity to cozy around BJP questioning party’s capability to return to power at the Center and win election.
But it is also a fact this could be an apt situation for Congress to come out of this demoralization by highlighting unprecedented situation in Kashmir. Though many in Congress are finding themselves unable to counter BJP’s strong propaganda on Kashmir issue but combined strength of opposition in the country is much more than the support base of BJP and Congress can utilize this opportunity to lead from the front by forging unity of like minded parties and pull out the party leaders and the opposition parties from this demoralization.
Whether they can really do it is a big question mark ?