Bhopal: On the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, Congress seems all confused. To discuss the decision of the Narendra Modi government to remove Article 370, the party is now going to have a meeting of top leaders in Delhi, which will include all the general secretaries, state presidents and all other top leaders of the party. The party is clearly divided into two camps. Rahul Gandhi is opposing the government’s decision; on the other hand, his only close and reliable colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia, while voting in the Lok Sabha, surprised everyone by supporting the bill in a tweet. Before Scindia, Mumbai Congress President Milind Deora and Congress’s young face Deepender Singh Hooda in Haryana had appeared in support of the Modi government on Article 370, too. The story behind this ‘dissent’ follows.
Scindia leads the race to become the new president of the party after Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post. Scindia’s support for the bill is his personal strategy for the future. Scindia’s image is not that of a politician who issues a statement on every issue. His tweet in support of the bill is a thoughtful step by him. It’s a message to the masses that, if given the charge, he would like to turn the Congress nationalist. Since the Lok Sabha election, the Congress is talking about “changes” according to the mood of the country. Before Scindia, Deora and Hooda, what the ‘new Congress’ would be was not clear. These leaders have given an indication of it by speaking in favour of turning Article 370 dysfunctional.
At one point in time, the minorities used to be a priority in the agenda of the Congress, but under the changed political circumstances, this vote bank looks unreliable. Congress does not want to slip further.
Along with this, the young Congress leaders who have supported the bill on Article 370 come from states where elections are to be held in the coming months. Both Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora and Congress’s young face in Haryana Deepender Singh Hooda face Assembly elections in the coming months. This is an opportune time to sing a different tune.
The BJP will not miss any opportunity to fully cash in on the issues of Article 370 in these states. The Congress is loath to letting the BJP take the electoral advantage.
The problem with this strategy is that it may look to the people as another opportunistic move by the Congress like Rahul Gandhi’s temple run that never happens when no election is on. Whether the question is of being pro-Hindu, pro-market or nationalist, the support to the ideology needs to be sustained consistently for the people to feel that the Congress has changed indeed.