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Congress hits back after Naidu’s political opportunism remark


New Delhi : As Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said the Congress statements on Kashmir show its internal divisions and political opportunism, the opposition party asked the Prime Minister to reveal his “understanding” with his Pakistan counterpart.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Naidu said: “The Congress is divided on the Kashmir issue. The party disowned the statements of its senior leaders P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid. These statements and contradictions by the Congress show a lack maturity and political opportunism.”

He said what is consistent about the Congress policy on Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir is its inconsistency.

“The Congress has once again displayed its insensitivity on the Kashmir issue. Its own leaders are not in consonance. It appears that the Congress leaders are not guided by national interest but political opportunism,” the minister said.

Questioning senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram’s statement that the Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should join hands with the Congress and the National Conference to resolve the crisis in the violence-hit state, Naidu earlier said: “What do they mean (that the) PDP, the Congress, the NC should come together? Are they trying to unsettle an elected state government?”

Naidu asked why the Congress was trying to exonerate Pakistan: “I appeal to them to be sensitive, realistic and to act and speak accordingly.”

The Congress, in turn, asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell the nation and the opposition about the understanding reached between him and Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif during Modi’s visit to Pakistan in December 2015.

“What did we get in return? We got in return (the terror attacks in) Gurdaspur, Udhampur, Pathankot and the unrest in Kashmir,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

Sharma asked: “What were the assurances that convinced Modi that the entire regime of Pakistan supported the peace process that Modi and Nawaz Sharif embarked on?”

“We want to make it clear that Kashmir is an integral part of India, but the real issue is of PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir),” he added.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: “The current crisis in Kashmir persists because of the complete deniability of the Modi government.”

Responding to Modi’s mention of Balochistan in his Independence Day address, Khurshid had said the reference amounted to “ruining our case on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”.

His party colleague Kapil Sibal said the Balochistan mention will have “consequences”.

The Congress, however, had distanced itself from the statements of Khurshid and Sibal.

Responding to the two leaders’ statements, Sharma said: “Individual comments and observations should not be misrepresented as if the Congress lacks clarity and firmness in its position.”

“Why is the government trying to divide the country on such a sensitive issue? The Congress, in the government or outside, has been clear on the need to fight terrorism and also the terror syndicate that operates from Pakistan,” he added.


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