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Article 370 - Opposition Parties Play Ball; Is It A Marriage Of Convenience Or Just Bullied Into It?

Article 370 - Opposition Parties Play Ball; Is It A Marriage Of Convenience Or Just Bullied Into It?

Observers find it ironic that parties like AAP, BSP, BJD and those from the Telugu-speaking states have unanimously supported the abrogation of Article 370

Pollward Bound Article 370 - Opposition Parties Play Ball; Is It A Marriage Of Convenience Or Just Bullied Into It?

A curious disjunction prevails between how different domains of the polity are oriented to the Article 370 controversy. It has been more than a week since the Modi government moved to nullify a part of the Constitution, ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and splitting the state into two Union territories. Always a controversial part of the statute, its negation too came in a set of dramatic moves on which consensus is elusive. An inevitable legal challenge looms, not to speak of consent on the ground—and sections of the Opposition are ranged in dissent too. But one striking aspect missed no one: the way many regional and smal­ler parties backed the government move, enabling its smooth sailing through Parliament.

The Congress too is divided on the issue, with some leaders preferring to not rem­ain isolated on what’s being painted as another ‘nationalist’ issue—a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose gambit from the BJP. But away from the spotlight, the reverberations are being felt in other parties too—the main regional parties too are also battling dissent, with their decision to support the government leaving many mystified. Parties that extended support include Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP (signalling a clear shift in his position), Mayawati’s BSP, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, the TRS in Telangana and both the TDP and YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh. Observers find it ironic that these parties, which thrive on the idea of competitive federalism and regional aspirations, rooted for the rem­oval of Article 370, a classic federal piece of the Constitution.

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