Union home minister Amit Shah’s question on “who is responsible for partition” triggered a huge row in parliament during the debate on the bill to extend President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir. The bill sailed through the Lok Sabha, but the argument over it was fierce and drew into its ambit partition and Article 356, under which central Rule can be imposed on a state.
In a scathing attack against the Congress, Mr Shah said it was not the BJP but the Congress who used the Article 356 as a political tool to dismiss the existing government in the state.
The BJP, he said, had enforced President’s Rule “under special circumstances”. But “before today, Article 356 has been used 132 times. Of those 132 times, 93 times it was used by the Congress. And now they will teach us how 356 should be used?” Mr Shah said, triggering loud protests.
But the Congress, which is against the bill, was outraged when Mr Shah while responding to the debate, said: “Manish Tiwari is raising questions on partition today. I want to ask him a question. Who is responsible for partition? Today, one-third of Jammu and Kashmir is not in our control. Who is responsible for that?” Then he went onto say Jawaharlal Nehru had declared ceasefire when the Indian force had pushed Pakistan’s troops to a corner.
Amid screams of protest from Congress members over the name of Jawaharlal Nehru being drawn into the debate, Mr Shah said, “Okay, if the mention of a name causes such pain, I shall henceforth refer to him as the first Prime Minister of the country”.
Manish Tewari, who was among the Congress speakers, had suggested that Jammu and Kashmir had to be placed under President’s Rule because of the BJP’s “incompatible” alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party.