SRINAGAR: Kashmir did figure in the just concluded 3-day All India Congress Committee (AICC) plenary session in Raipur. The resolution offered clear ideas about its Kashmir policy, apparently vindicating what was already around.
There were two mentions of Kashmir. One in Rahul Gandhi’s speech after the session was over and another in the party’s resolution.
“52 years past and I still don’t have home, but when reached Kashmir felt like home,” Rahul Gandhi said. He concluded his yatra in Srinagar and made a speech amid a snowfall. Later he spent many days in Gulmarg to cool his heels. “Yatra was to make people of all castes and age groups feel at home. People were not talking about political things to me during yatra but it all changed when I reached Kashmir (sic).”
Gandhi’s Kashmir links apart, the grand old party is not interested in reinstating Article 370 or retaining encouraging Ladakh to rejoin Jammu and Kashmir. It wants early restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and protect Ladakh culture by the extension of the Sixth Schedule.
“The people of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have always stood by the country and its sovereignty. Congress reaffirms that the whole of Jammu & Kashmir is part of India. Owing to the drastic steps taken in August 2019, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has been bifurcated summarily,” the draft resolution read. “Congress will strive to restore complete statehood for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and bring Ladakh and its people under the protection of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.”
Gandhi in Srinagar had also asserted that his party would want early elections in Jammu and Kashmir and restoration of the statehood. He avoided Article 370.
Interestingly, Home Minister Amit Shah asserted on the floor of the house on the day he read down the special status of Jammu and Kashmir that statehood will be restored and elections will be held. However, he offered no deadline for either of the two commitments.
Congress’s silence on the special status of Jammu and Kashmir indicated that the party will avoid raking an issue that will cost it in elections. A section within Congress is not opposed to the August 5, 201decision-makingng though they insist the way it was done could have been avoided.