The Congress, referring to the remarks of former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Jammu and Kashmir has said that the opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the party.
In a tweet though, P Chidambaram has advised the BJP to read before criticising. He was referring to his answer to question on J&K which has been published by a leading newspaper.
The GOP has sought to distance itself from Chidambaram’s remark after it came under fire from the BJP, with Union Minister Smriti Irani calling it shocking and shameful.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had 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.
Meanwhile, Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so unquestionably.
Referring to Chidambaram's remarks Surjewala said, "The opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the Indian National Congress. In our democracy, individuals are entitled to their opinion."
Surjewala said the party had constituted a policy-planning group under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to carry forward the peace initiative in the state which will visit Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Kargil and Ladakh regions between November 10 and 12.
“Once the group concludes its deliberations, it will submit a report and share feedback and experience with Congress president Sonia Gandhi,” he said.
"So, it would be wrong to prejudge the issue," he said.
Hitting out at the Central and J&K governments over their handling of the situation in the state Surjewala asked the ruling parties to introspect on the issue.
He recalled how terrorist Masood Azhar was released and taken to Kandahar during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
“Ten years of the Congress-led UPA government proved to be a watershed in restoring normalcy, promoting economic activity, tourism and infrastructural development, engaging with the people within the framework of the Constitution and fighting terrorism and militancy decisively,” he said.
Surjewala also asked the BJP government to list the steps it has taken to restore normalcy and peace in the state and its roadmap to ensure development there.