Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Saturday replied to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s question whether P Chidambaram’s statement on autonomy should be given to J&K is an official stand of Congress party.
Surjewala issued a press release stating that Congress believes that the solution for lasting peace and prosperity in J&K lies solely within the framework of Indian Constitution. He maintained that Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh is an integral part of Indian Union and will always remain so unquestionably.
Congress spokesperson defended its position by saying that 10 years of UPA government proved to be a watershed in restoring normalcy in Kashmir. He wrote that the UPA government fought terrorism decisively.
Surjewala targeted NDA government by stating that the situation in Kashmir has deteriorated rapidly under its leadership. He said that terrorism, ceasefire violations, Pak-sponsored terrorism have grown rapidly.
Surjewala informed that INC has framed a policy group under the chairmanship of Dr Manmohan Singh to restore normalcy in Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, Arun Jaitley on Saturday criticised the Congress leader P Chidambaram’s statement that autonomy should be given to Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the position Congress has taken goes directly contrary to India’s national interest.
Jaitley blamed Congress for Kashmir problem by saying that it happened due to flawed policy of the party since 1947.
"It was a flawed policy of Congress right since 1947 which is responsible for the Kashmir problem. Kashmir problem is a Congress legacy. Instead of learning from its past mistakes, Cong wants to precipitate a crisis further for this country," said Jaitley.
Jaitley also blamed previous UPA governments for its inaction in addressing Kashmir problem.
"10 years of the UPA Government was a wasted opportunity on J&K, not a single initiative worked; you had terrorism on top," said Jaitley.
Jaitley praised the initiatives of NDA government by saying that they have succeeded in squeezing the funds of the terrorists and mass protests of stone throwers are by and large over.
"Congress is deceiving the country, itself and encouraging separatism in J&K. It is hurting India's national interest. Serious issue whether statement that has come from a prominent Cong leader is Congress' official stand or not? Should clarify immediately," said Jaitley.
Minister of Information & Broadcasting Smriti Irani also hit back at Congress leader P Chidambaram’s statement.
Irani said that it is quite shocking and disgusting that P Chidambaram today spoke about breaking the Union of India into pieces and supports those who actually murdered our security forces just so that they can play havoc with law & order situation in J&K.
Irani said that Chidambaram’s statement reflects the Congress mentality. She added that Rahul Gandhi is known to have supported those people who had given the statement 'Bharat Tere Tukde honge' in JNU crisis.
“For them to talk about Azadi on a land that gave us Sardar Patel, he gave entire life to make sure India stood united under one constitution. What is the message Congress is trying to give, that at their doorstep of political gain they are willing to sacrifice nationhood?” said Irani.
Chidambaram said that his interaction with people in the state led him to the conclusion that when they ask for azadi, most of them want autonomy.
Chidambaram suggested that giving autonomy to J&K must be considered. He said that J&K will remain part of India but will have larger powers as promised under Article 370.