After initial opposition on Article 370, JD(U) strikes reconciliatory note

Nitish Kumar, Narendra Modi, Bihar, Chief Minister, JD(U), alliance
The monetary benefits that Nitish Kumar continues to shower on his ministers and lawmakers comes despite the fact that many hail from affluent families. Photo: PTI.

After opposing the Centre’s resolution to revoke provisions of Article 370 and a bill to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir, NDA ally JD(U) has struck a reconciliatory note, saying the law that had come into force should be abided by all.

Janata Dal (United) national general secretary Ram Chandra Prasad Singh said on Wednesday (August 7) that his party does not wish to engage in further ideological sparring.
Singh, one of the closest aides of JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said the ideological differences will not affect the ruling coalition in the state.

Senior JD(U) leader K C Tyagi on Monday had justified his party MPs staging a walkout in Rajya Sabha over the Centre’s move to revoke provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was in line with the ideologies of Jayprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and George Fernandes, who opposed any tinkering with the legislation.

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Also read: Karan Singh, the last prince of J&K, backs Centre on Article 370

“The law that has come into force with the passing of the bill in Parliament is the law of the land. It should be abided by all. Our differences with the BJP on this issue have always been known and we registered our protest by not voting for it,” Singh, also the JD(U) leader in the Rajya Sabha, told reporters here.

JD(U) lawmakers in both Houses of Parliament had opposed the resolution for scrapping the provisions of Article 370 and re-organising Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. They spoke against the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, but stopped short of voting against it as they staged a walkout.

The JD(U) has six MPs in Rajya Sabha and 16 in Lok Sabha. “We could not have supported the bill. We were not consulted by the Centre before it brought the bill. We have an ideological position on the issue based on the stance taken by our founding president George Fernandes and, previously, socialist stalwarts like Lohia and JP (Jayprakash Narayan). However, now that the bill has been passed by Parliament, we do not wish to engage in further ideological sparring,” he said.

Also read: SC refuses urgent hearing on plea against Article 370

The JD(U) national general secretary said, “Our ideological differences will have no bearing on the NDA in Bihar. The coalition is intact and we are looking forward to contesting the state assembly polls together next year.”

He also dismissed party MLC Ghulam Rasool Balyawi’s statement that the development in Parliament indicated that “there is no NDA, only the BJP.”

“It is a democracy and all people have a right to express their individual opinions. The party took a stand in Parliament and now it wants to work in cooperation with the government at the Centre. And the party stand is in consonance with the thinking of Nitish Kumar, who is our supreme leader,” Singh said.

The JD(U) has maintained that it does not share the BJP’s views on issues like Article 370, the Uniform Civil Code and the Ayodhya dispute.

Last month, the party had also opposed the triple talaq bill, expressing apprehension that it might create “an atmosphere of distrust” in the society.

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