Chapter 2: Midnight trysts

The opposition BJP had warned the government that it risked a no confidence motion in the parliament should it accept the UN resolution. They had already called for a country-wide complete bandh for three consecutive days beginning the day the UN Security Council passed the plebiscite resolution. The bandh was a phenomenal success even in muslim dominated regions of India. The ruling Indian National Congress was faced with a crisis that could potentially threaten its existence in Indian polity. The Prime Minister of India, Rahul Gandhi, had had very little sleep because of a series of all-night closed-door meetings with his confidantes and senior party members. Later it was revealed that most senior Congress members were in favour of ignoring the UN resolution.

It was however Rahul Gandhi's first real test as Prime Minister. He was apprehensive of souring relations with President Williams of the US, who was even more popular worldwide than her predecessor President Obama. India had just begun to recover from a sharp economic downturn, and any signs of non-cooperation with the international community would further isolate it. Prime Minister Rahul Gandhi was faced with a dilemma that could potentially see Rahul Gandhi being labeled as a leader of a rogue state which defies world opinion, should he ignore the UN resolution, or it could help the opposition BJP paint him as a weak leader who sold a "piece of Mother India" just to appease President Williams, if he were to comply with UN demands.

Just a couple of years prior, in the 2017 Indian general elections, the Congress had won by a razor-thin majority, and had regained the seat of power from a loose coalition of right-wing parties led by the BJP, which had ruled India for three years since 2015. During this time, the BJP had suspended peace talks with Pakistan, ignored the US special representative for Kashmir, dismissed the government of Kashmir, amended the constitution to abolish article 370, and imposed Governor's rule in Kashmir. In a sign of further disregard for international opinion, which was moving toward de-nuclearization of the planet, the government under BJP Prime Minister Arun Jaitley defiantly accelerated nuclear weapons research, and successfully tested a long-range missile with nuclear capabilities in 2016. This shocked the world, and President Obama was forced to impose tough economic sanctions against India. This was followed by separate UN sanctions. This resulted in loss of foreign investment, large-scale job losses, and a very unpopular BJP. Before the Congress was able to call for a no-confidence motion, the loose coalition fell apart and India was again faced with a general election in 2017, and Rahul Gandhi was elected as Prime Minister. Just when India was facing a wave of goodwill toward the Congress, and Rahul Gandhi was poised to mend relations with the rest of the world, the plebiscite resolution could not have come about at a more inopportune moment.

 A close confidante of Mr. Rahul Gandhi had later confessed in his autobiography that during this period, the worst fear that Mr Gandhi had was to leave a legacy where he would be remembered by history as the worst Prime Minister of India who caused the disintegration of India. He also feared that any compliance with the UN demands would mean a resurgence of the right-wing BJP and potentially resend Congress back to the opposition benches for the rest of his lifetime. He flew the next day to the US for an emergency meeting with President Williams. The opposition swooped up on this news and began calling him a puppet Prime Minister.

 A few congress Members of Parliament were openly speaking against the plebiscite. It would be a real possibility that these MPs would vote against their own government to spare them the wrath of the electorate.