As Congress leader Rahul Gandhi donned a winter jacket in the wake of inclement weather on the second day of the last leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jammu on Friday, his party’s communications chief Jairam Ramesh reinvigorated the debate on Article 370, saying that “a democratic way was not followed while the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019 was passed in the Parliament.”
“Revocation of Article 370 was done in an unconstitutional and undemocratic way because they [BJP] have the majority in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. There was no discussion, no cross examination of the Bill and it was forcefully passed, as the ruling government misused its power of absolute majority,” Mr. Ramesh said.
He noted that J&K was a full-fledged State, which was degraded to a Union Territory. “The Congress party is totally against this. We demanded resumption of the democratic process in J&K and the statehood status with dignity,” he said.
Special provisions for States
On the J&K regional parties’ demand for restoration of Article 370, Mr. Ramesh said, “Our constitution has provision of Article 371 in many States including Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim etc. with special provisions. 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.”
Meanwhile, amid rains and cold weather, Mr. Gandhi resumed his yatra in Kathua on Friday and walked from Hatli Morh towards Chadwal on the Jammu-Pathankot highway.
The Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, who also joined the yatra, said, “Mr. Gandhi is a leader of masses and he is on the right path to raise a voice against unemployment, inflation and other issues bothering people in the country.” He added that only Mr. Gandhi could challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2024 and end the BJP’s “dictatorial regime”.
Several gallantry award winners, including Param Vir Chakra recipient Captain Bana Singh, also joined the yatra.
The Congress said that 23 heads of national political parties were likely to join Mr. Gandhi for a national flag-hoisting ceremony in Srinagar on January 29 and 30.