Article 370: Upset Congress to seek answers from ‘rebels’

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New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Upset over the rift in its ranks with many key leaders backing the Modi government’s decision to abrogate the Constitution’s Article 370, the Congress is likely to seek clarifications from the “rebels”, party leaders said.

The party also feels that its communication with its members is not functioning properly, and has planned a major rejig of its media and communication department to keep its flock together as well as reach out to the people.

A senior party leader related to the development and wishing not to be named told IANS that the party leadership is going to ask for clarification from leaders like Janaradan Dwivedi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepender Singh Hooda, Milind Deora, Anil K. Shastri, UP MLA Aditi Singh and others for speaking in favour of the government decision.

The open support for revocation of Article 370 by Scindia, Hooda, Deora, and Aditi Singh – who are all considered close to Rahul Gandhi – has come as a big shock to the party which is still to come to the terms with the Lok Sabha election drubbing and is rudderless.

According to the leader, the stand of the “rebels” has not gone down well with the senior party members and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and outgoing party chief Rahul Gandhi.

Noting the stand taken by Dwivedi that the Modi government has rectified the mistake committed by the Congress government of implementing Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir after Independence, the leader said that Dwivedi, who was suspended from the party for indiscipline, has for long spoken out against Rahul Gandhi.

He said, soon after the Lok Sabha elections were declared, Dwivedi was first to speak against the leadership as he said that he was not surprised by the election results.

The Congress managed to win only 52 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. It was second successive major setback for the party in the Lok Sabha elections.

Asked about the stand taken by Scindia, Deora, Singh, Hooda junior and others, the party leader said that they will also be asked why they went against the party line.

However, these leaders, during the CWC meeting on Tuesday, told the party leadership that they gave their opinion, sensing the mood of the people and had also questioned the way the BJP government revokes Article 370 and bifurcated the state.

The Congress leader said they shall be given time to send their reply to the party leadership and if the leadership is not satisfied with their responses, then it can take disciplinary action against them.

The party leader further said that the senior leadership has clearly gone with the line senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad took in the Rajya Sabha on Monday when Union Home Minister Amit Shah brought the resolution to revoke Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.

The party again took the same stand in Lok Sabha when the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed.

He said the party has called the meeting of all the General Secretaries, state in-charges, state chiefs, AICC department chairpersons, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs on Friday to discuss the party’s stand on Article 370.

The party leader further said that the party is also likely to give more responsibility to former Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari by bringing changes in the party’s communication and media team, which is currently headed by senior party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.

The party leader said that Surjewala may be given prominent role in Haryana where the Assembly elections are due later this year and Tewari can be made the head of the media and communication team.

He said the senior leadership believes that change in the media and communication team is required to project Congress as the main opposition party in the country and take its ideology to the people of the country.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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