By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 6 Aug: The leadership vacuum in Congress and the confusion over the Kashmir issue is affecting its state units too. The Uttarakhand Congress too appeared to be in the dark over the party’s stand regarding bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir state and abrogation of Article 370. Today, speaking informally with media persons, Uttarakhand Congress Chief Pritam Singh refused to comment on the Modi Government’s historic move on Article 370. Admitting that the Congress party was yet to take a final stand, he added that it would not be appropriate on the part of Uttarakhand Congress to comment on the issue. He however was quick to add that the senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s strong objection to the abrogation of the Article 370 was not the official stand of the party.
Singh claimed that he was yet to go through the details and therefore he would not like to comment on the resolution that was passed in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. He said that Azad’s opposition to the resolution was not the party’s official stand and when the party did so, the PCC would extend its support. Confusion in the Congress at the national level and the recent leadership vacuum was so evident in the response of Singh to the questions posed by the mediapersons that he appeared evasive on almost all the questions. When asked about the political mileage drawn by the BJP due to yesterday’s development, Singh said the Kashmir issue was a very sensitive one and all parties ought to be very cautious in their approach. National interest had to take precedence over others in this case. Unofficially speaking to this correspondent, some senior party leaders admitted that their party had been totally outwitted by the BJP and particularly in the way the opposition had been divided in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress leadership, they felt, had failed to gauge how the BJP had very “shrewdly and meticulously” planned its manoeuvres in the Rajya Sabha. As a result, Congress was left with only a handful of other parties in opposing the move and in the process got even more isolated than before.
Meanwhile, the leadership vacuum is affecting the party’s state units in other ways too. Supposed to have constituted the PCC long ago, Uttarakhand Congress Chief Pritam Singh appears to have deferred the constitution of the PCC indefinitely. Some Congress leaders added that this is what Singh wanted in the end as he was already under pressure from some senior Congress leaders in Uttarakhand to accommodate their supporters in the new PCC. Now that there is no Congress President, he was using this as a pretext to further defer reconstituting the PCC.