By A Special Correspondent
The Congress party is cutting a very sorry figure in Parliament by not acknowledging that though Article 370 was a necessity when it was inserted, it was not permanent in nature and the time has now come to revoke it. Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the BJP has "dismembered" the country and has cut off its head. Azad should recognize that revocation of Article 370 will truly integrate J&K into India, not dismember it. And what head is he talking about? It was a head that had been taught never to respond to the demands of the body, to take its orders from people across the border and to treat the people from the rest of India as foreigners. Such a head is an embarrassment to the body. Revocation of Article 370 will now ensure that the head will remain in tune with the body.
To be fair to the Congress, the party cannot be expected to accept the bold and historic decision of the NDA government. For, that will mean acknowledging that Jawaharlal Nehru was wrong in accepting the demand for granting special status to the state. That will also mean that the policy the Congress has been following towards the state for 70 years after that was also wrong. But the fact is that it is because of the wrong policies that were followed for so many years that the state remains undeveloped, the people remain poor and the only ones who have benefited have been the political leaders of the Congress and the regional parties in the state.
No political leader in the state has ever rued the fact that there are no big private industrial units, no private hospitals and no reputed private schools in the state. Why should they? If they want to invest their ill-begotten wealth, they can always use the hawala route to transfer the money and invest anywhere in India or the rest of the world. If they want to be treated for a medical condition, they can always go to London (as Farooq Abdullah went in 2015 to have a kidney transplant). Their children can study in the best of schools and colleges (Omar Abdullah was educated at Lawrence School, Sanawar and Sydenham College, Mumbai) in India or abroad. Why worry for the common people then?
The Congress party had always appeased these regional leaders and had several times run the government in the state in alliance with either the National Conference or the PDP. It had held talks with separatists knowing full well that they speak Pakistan's language. But perhaps that was the language the party was comfortable in. It had always tried to keep the problem festering, like the regional parties of the state and had thus allowed Pakistan to radicalize local youth and turn them into India-baiters and India-haters.
But by now vehemently opposing the revocation of Article 370, the party is making the same mistake it did by demanding proof of the airstrikes in Balakot. It is speaking the language of Pakistan. In fact, the Pakistani politicians and the media in that country have seized upon comments by Congress leaders to show that the opposition in India is against the revocation whereas the truth is that barring the Congress, the NCP, the TMC, the DMK, the JD(U) and the CPI(M), no political party of any worthwhile standing has gone against the move. Even parties like the Aam Aadmi Party and the BSP, who are not on the same page with the Modi government, have supported the move. The headless and directionless Congress party is fast losing the faith of even those who voted for it by taking such stands on issues of national importance.