‘Mood of nation has changed’: Congress a divided house, chief whip in Rajya Sabha quits over party’s stand on Article 370

Hours after the BJP-led Centre announced scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and also announced its bifurcation into two Union Territories, the Congress seems to be a divided house. While its Rajya Sabha leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and P Chidambaram are of the view that the party must oppose the bill, some Lok Sabha members feel otherwise. As per News 18, some Congress members of the Lok Sabha feel opposing it will be a bad idea with the numbers not in its favour. The bill is expected to pass through in Parliament smoothly with parties like AAP, AIADMK, BJD, YSRCP supporting the government in Rajya Sabha, while JD(U) did not participate in the debate. In a major embarrassment to the party, the Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha Bhuvaneshwar Kalita quit the party over its stand on Article 370. In a purported statement put out by him, the leader said he has resigned from the party after he was asked to issue a Whip to its members. Kalita said this went against the mood and emotions of the nation. The Congress partys current ideology indicates that it is committing suicide and I am not willing to be part of it. I refuse to follow this whip and resign from the Congress party, he said. The current Congress leadership is working to destroy the party. I believe that nobody can save Congress from destruction. Also read: While Jammu and Kashmir is proposed to be turned into a union territory with a legislature, Ladakh will be a separate UT without a legislature. Earlier in the day, shortly after 11 am, Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved the resolution on Article 370 as also the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 amidst huge uproar opposition parties. During his speech, the Home Minister informed the House that President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the official notification removing Article 370. Soon after the minister made the announcement, leaders of Congress, TMC and DMK started protesting. A PDP member also tore his clothes and then along with other leaders of the party allegedly tore copies of the Constitution, after which Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu ordered them to be physically removed. Soon after entering the House, Shah received a standing ovation from his party MPs . He termed the move as historical, pointing out that Article 370 did not allow integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the country.