On the abolition of Article 370 -- from which Jammu and Kashmir derived special status --- and the reorganization of the state into two Union Territories, the government today won support from unlikely quarters, which ensured smooth sailing of its decisions in the Rajya Sabha, where it is short of a majority.
Soon after the Rajya Sabha met, Home Minister Amit Shah said the President had signed an order to scrap Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs.
Its removal ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947.
Amit Shah also separately introduced a bill to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories with two Lieutenant Governors. Ladakh will be a Union Territory without a legislature and Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature.
Parties like Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK, Jagan Reddy's YSR Congress Party, N Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party supported the resolution. That brought the number to 113.
The Congress led the opposition protests against the Kashmir decisions. Others who opposed the moves were the Samajwadi Party, DMK, CPM and the RJD.
Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United also opposed the move but was likely to help by boycotting the vote, along with the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar and Trinamool Congress
Two lawmakers of the People's Democratic Party were suspended for tearing up the constitution in protest against Amit Shah's announcement.
The government does not enjoy a majority in the upper house.
In Lok Sabha, the bill and the resolution are likely to get through easily as the government has a comfortable majority.
Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha earlier protested in the centre of the Rajya Sabha and raised slogans. Some members of the Samajwadi Party also sat in the well.
But the opposition members later ended their protest and started participating in the discussion.
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