Congress leader Manish Tewari has said that Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was not imposed by Congress but by the Constituent Assembly of India of which Syama Prasad Mukherjee was also a member. “Jammu and Kashmir has always been and will always be an integral part of India… Article 370 was not implemented by Congress in J-K. India’s constituent assembly, which included Syama Prasad Mukherjee, implemented Article 370 there,” he said on Thursday.
While speaking on the issue of Article 370 which was scrapped on August 5, 2019, by the Centre, Tewari said that the matter is subjudice in front of the Supreme Court and the matter will be taken up on October 31 for a hearing. Syama Prasad Mukherjee served as the minister in Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet.
“Whatever happened in Rajya Sabha & then Lok Sabha on 5-6 August 2019 (of passing the bill) is still under the Supreme Court’s cognizance. The case will be taken up on October 31. Saying that the whole case has been done with before the SC verdict is irresponsible,” he added. With the Congress presidential polls just around the corner, Tewari said that the party needs a “safe pair of hands” and a “composed personality” in the form of Mallikarjun Kharge who can provide “stability” to the party as the president.
Tewari, who is a part of the G-23 group (seeking reforms within Congress), extended support to Kharge’s candidature for the top post in the party as against his group member Shashi Tharoor who is also in the race. The elections for the Congress president will take place on October 17 and the results will be declared on October 19. Tewari said, “If all the facts are considered and an impartial assessment is done, then Mallikarjun Kharge who has dedicated over 50 years of his life to the service of Congress, in that case, I believe that in this situation, the Congress party needs a safe pair of hands in the form of Kharge. He is a composed personality. Kharge has spent several years and has grown from the lowest posts in the party. Congress needs stability which I feel Kharge can provide.”
Notably, Tewari was one of the proposers for Kharge on September 30 when the latter filed his nomination for the party president election in the national capital. Anand Sharma, another G23 leader, was also a proposer. Other party leaders who backed Kharge’s nomination include AK Antony, Ashok Gehlot, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, Abhishek Singhvi, Ajay Maken, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Digvijaya Singh, Tariq Anwar, Salman Khurshid, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Deepender Singh Hooda, V Narayanasamy, V Vaithilingam, Pramod Tiwari, PL Punia, Avinash Pandey, Rajeev Shukla, Syed Naseer Hussain, Raghuvir Singh Meena, Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, Tarsem Chand Bagri, Prithviraj Chavan, Kamleshwar Patel, Moolchand Meena, Dilip Gajjar, Sanjay Kapoor and Vinit Punia.
Tewari further said that Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will always have a role to play in the party. “Sonia Gandhi has always discharged her duties with impartiality. Her role in the party will always be there. I want to ask the BJP when was the last time when a democratic election was held in the party,” he said.