Congress is speaking Pak language on Kashmir: Modi

Smriti Irani

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed the Congress party over the remarks of its senior leader P Chidambaram on Jammu and Kashmir.

The Prime Minister further said that the people have no expectations from the Congress party, adding the country's grand old party was disconnected from country's aspirations.

Chidambaram's response was that Modi hadn't read his comments fully, and that he was attacking a "ghost". Modi's sharp comments came a day after senior Congress leader P Chidambaram pitched for greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir yet again. He asked the opposition party whether by autonomy it means the pre-1953 status, and whether the state should have a Prime Minister instead of a Chief Minister, and a Sadar-i-Riyasat, and not a government. My interactions in Jammu and Kashmir led me to the conclusion that when they ask for azadi (independence), most people - I am not saying all - (an) overwhelming majority want autonomy.

"Thousands of soldiers have sacrificed their lives for Kashmir". Can the country benefit from such people who are playing politics on the sacrifice of our soldiers?

Modi said the country had no hope or expectations from the Congress. "They are talking the language of separatists and pro-Pakistan elements".

"While individuals may have different personal opinions, Congress believes that the solution for lasting peace and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir lies exclusively within the framework of Constitution", said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in a statement. "It is hurting India's national interest, and this is a very serious issue", he said.

Chidambaram landed in controversy after saying that Kashmir needed autonomy. The Congress has distanced itself from the statement and described it as the "opinion of an individual". "We continue to strive for the restoration of autonomy and restoration of Article 370 to its original, pristine form while condemning those divisive voices who are opposed to the sovereign constitutional guarantees extended to the people of the state", the resolution passed at the conference reads. The NC also asked the government at the Centre to end what it alleged was its "muscular policy" vis-a-vis the state.

"Congress has always worked towards providing equal development, equal financial allocation and equal opportunities to the three regions of state of Jammu and Kashmir", he added.

It said the Kashmir issue should be resolved through a sustained dialogue with both internal and external stakeholders, an apparent reference to separatists and Pakistan.

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