The failure of the Congress leadership in taking up strongly the NIT issue and challenging the PDP-BJP coalition has annoyed the state leadership who wanted to take on the government aggressively. The local congress leaders from Jammu said that there was strong unrest and resentment against the BJP over the manner in which it has failed to take up the cause of the students as a number of students from Jammu region as well those from rest of India.
Congress leaders expressed different views during the recent visit of All India Congress committee general secretary Ambika Soni. Jammu based leaders said that instead of issuing mild statements the party should have aggressively challenged BJP Deputy CM Nirmal Singh who was caught in a tight corner over his statement of mild lathicharge. By taking up this sensitive issue, the Congress wants to put the BJP on back foot and also wants to regain the lost ground in Jammu region.
The party leaders also said that taking a neutral approach could be disastrous for Congress as there is strong anger among people over the manner in which students at NIT Srinagar were lathicharged. If students are beaten up for raising the national flag and Congress says nothing it sends a very wrong message to the people, said one of the leaders. The anger among workers could be gauged from the fact that even Congress workers shouted Bharat mata ki jai slogans thus sending a message that it should not allow BJP to appropriate nationalism.
The issue of NIT students was also taken up in the executive committee meeting of the party but it has not yet become clear what will be the future course of action for the party. Political watchers however point out that to appease the minority vote bank the party is unlikely to come out openly in support of NIT students.