In a U-turn, JD(U) now backs scrapping of Article 370

In a U-turn, JD(U) now backs scrapping of Article 370

The move comes shortly after a section of JD(U) leaders appealed to its party president Nitish Kumar and urged him to reconsider opposition to the revocation of Article 370. (PTI File Photo)

In a dramatic shift in the stand, Bihar's ruling party Janata Dal (United), a key ally of the BJP-led NDA, has now supported abrogation of Article 370, barely days after it walked out of Parliament protesting over the issue.

The move comes shortly after a section of JD(U) leaders appealed to its party president Nitish Kumar and urged him to reconsider opposition to the revocation of Article 370.

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“The Government’s proposal to abrogate Article 370 has been passed by the House. It’s now a law. And everyone should respect it,” said RCP Singh, JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP and a close aide of Nitish.

“It’s true that we opposed the Bill. In fact, we have been opposing the move since 1996 when the first NDA Government came to power at the Centre. Our late leader George Fernandes, who also served as NDA convenor, was always against the scrapping of Article 370. So, the JD(U) opposed it tooth and nail till the last moment. But now that it has been passed in the House by a majority, there is no point in opposing it,” said Singh.

The Rajya Sabha MP explained why the JD(U) did not vote against Article 370. “We are an alliance partner of the BJP and, therefore, part of the NDA. At the same time, we have differences with the BJP over Article 370, triple talaq and Ayodhya issue. On the issue of voting, we had three options: Either vote for it, or vote against it, or stage a walk-out. Having opposed it consistently since the mid-90s, we could not have voted for it. Voting against it would have meant we were with Congress. So, we preferred the third option of staging a walkout,” Singh cleared the air.

There is still a small section of JD(U) leaders opposing abrogation of Article 370. “Everyone is free to air his view. But one will have to draw a line. If someone is not comfortable with the party’s current stand, he or she is free to leave the organisation,” the veteran MP added.

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