Trust vote win cheers Congress in Jammu

July 23rd, 2008 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Jammu, July 23 (IANS) On the backfoot after the fall of its government in Jammu and Kashmir, the state Congress had at last something to celebrate Wednesday after the Manmohan Singh government won the trust vote in the Lok Sabha, a day earlier. Congress leaders including former ministers - who had cocooned themselves in their houses, fearing mob fury over their role in scrapping of the land transfer to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, an issue that angered the people no end in the Hindu-dominated region of the state - were out on the streets late Tuesday night.

Party workers danced to drum beats and distributed sweets into the early hours Wednesday.

“It is sweeter here in Jammu and Kashmir,” said senior Congress leader and former health minister Mangat Ram Sharma, as his supporters gathered at his house Wednesday morning, making him join the dancing and sweet-distribution.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and several associated groups - the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Shiv Sena, united under the banner of Amarnath Yatra Sangarash Samiti - have been agitating for the restoration of the nearly-40 hectare plot to the shrine board.

They have been denouncing the erstwhile Congress government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad for what they called the “heinous act of taking away the land from the shrine board”.

The agitation which started June 28 continues. First it was shutdowns, traffic off the roads, black flag displays, signature campaigns, and now relay hunger strikes and torch processions targeted against the Congress ministers, most of whom hail from the Jammu region. Their houses and vehicles were stoned and demonstrations held against them.

“This vote of confidence has given an opportunity to Congress leaders to revisit streets, and they would cash on it,” said Dhian Singh, a university professor. “It is indeed a positive development for them.”

“This is a reincarnation of the party after the Amarnath land row,” said Rajinder Singh, a student leader. “At least the leaders would be able to move in public.”

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