Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Congress spokesperson Deepika Pushkar Nath on Tuesday resigned from the party, citing its decision to “allow” former minister Lal Singh to join the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra which will enter the Union territory later this week.
Nath said she is leaving the party on ideological grounds as Singh was responsible for sabotaging the 2018 Kathua rape case by “brazenly defending” the rapists of an eight-year-old nomadic girl.
Singh, a two-time MP and three-time MLA had switched from Congress to BJP in 2014 and was also a minister in the PDP-BJP government which collapsed in June 2018 after the national party pulled out of the alliance.
Several months before the fall of the government, Singh resigned from BJP and floated Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP) following an uproar over his participation in a rally in support of the Kathua rape accused in January 2018.
He had defended his participation in the rally stating that he was there to “defuse the situation”.
“In view of Ch Lal Singh’s proposal of joining @bharatjodo & @INCJammuKashmir allowing the same, I am left with no other option but to resign from @INCIndia(.) Lal Singh was responsible in sabotaging the Kathua rape case in 2018 by brazenly defending rapists.
“Lal Singh divided the entire region of Jammu & Kashmir to protect the rapists and @bharatjodo is ideologically opposite. On ideological grounds, I cannot share the party platform with such a person,” Nath wrote on Twitter.
A lawyer by profession, Nath took the parents of the victim to the high court at Jammu for monitoring of the investigation and also guided them to approach the Supreme Court for seeking the transfer of the trial to Pathankot (Punjab).
Earlier in the day, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of J&K Rajni Patil told reporters here that any leader who believes in the ideology of Gandhi is welcome to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Responding to a question that Singh’s joining the yatra might have a wrong impact, Patil said, “We are only focussed on our leader’s march. If he believes that Gandhi is bridging the gap between different religions and castes, he is welcome.”
On the hoisting of the national flag at Lal Chowk by Gandhi on January 30 when the yatra is scheduled to end, she said “The tricolour always flutters high in our party office there.”
“We are not moving with RSS agenda… We will unfurl the tricolour, which Gandhi is carrying from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, at our party office in Lal Chowk (instead of Clock Tower),” she said.
Stand by family of Kathua rape case victim, says J-K Congress
Jammu and Kashmir Congress on Wednesday said it stands by the family of the Kathua rape case victim after its spokesperson Deepika Pushkar Nath resigned from the party over its decision to “allow” an ex-minister, who had allegedly defended the accused, to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“She (Deepika) announced her decision to resign from the party on Twitter. The high command has taken note and will decide on it. However, the stand of our party on the rape and murder case is crystal clear as we stand with the family of the victim and have always favoured a fair probe to bring the culprits to book,” J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma told PTI.
He said the party has not extended an invitation to Singh to join the yatra.
“He has expressed his willingness to be part of the yatra which was launched by Rahul Gandhi to unite the country against hatred and divisive politics.
“We have welcomed everyone who accepted the ideology of Gandhi…Singh was a member of the BJP at that time and was sent by his party along with then ministerial colleague Chander Prakash Ganga to Kathua. Both of them submitted their resignations from the council of ministers and Ganga is still with BJP,” Sharma said.
Cannot share the same platform with Singh: Nath
Deepika, who resigned from Congress on Tuesday, said she made her decision known to the party through her tweets after her repeated communications with the leadership evoked no response ever since Singh extended support to Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“I have no complaint against the party but my resignation is purely based on ideological grounds as he (Singh) is the person who was responsible in sabotaging the Kathua rape case by brazenly defending the rapists and divided the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir,” Deepika had said.
She added, “I cannot share the platform with such a person who is trying to come back into the party.”
She said the yatra is against the hatred, division and all those bad things that have weakened the country so far.
“I have already joined the foot march in Kerala and have been part of it as I support the idea behind the march…I will think whether I will join the yatra as an ordinary person when it reaches Jammu or Srinagar and so far I have not made any decision,” she said.