BJP-PDP govt has ‘no policy, no idea’ on how to handle Kashmir: Congress
Accusing the BJP government at the Centre and the BJP-PDP government in the state for mishandling the Kashmir situation, Congress claimed that the policy adopted by the present government is completely detrimental to the cause of national security as also national integration.
“... You are seeing the manifestations of this fallacious policy play itself out in other parts of India as well. So we would like to request the BJP government, since it is a sensitive issue I am deliberately refraining from using the word 'demand', that it is high time that the Central government articulated its policy towards the situation in Kashmir in clear terms,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
He went on to add that the lack of policy towards Kashmir reflects in the growing incidents of violence involving Kashmiris across India and pointed, "Whether it was BITS (Pilani) or the hoarding put up in UP, these are clear indicators that the government has no concrete Kashmir policy and the anti-social elements associated with the BJP have been given a free run."
Earlier on Monday, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to brief him on the prevailing situation in Kashmir, particularly the rise in violence since the 9 April by-poll for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
Emerging from the meeting that lasted for 20 minutes, Mufti said that she urged the Prime Minister to initiate a dialogue to restore normalcy in the state which is witnessing increasing incidents of violent confrontations between the army and the locals.
“The prime minister has an intention of holding talks after the situation becomes normal,” she informed the media and went on to add that the prime minister repeatedly invoked former former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's peace push. “Modiji repeatedly said that he would follow Vajpayee ji's footsteps who followed the policy of reconciliation and not confrontation,” she said.
The damning indictment
Reacting to the meeting held between the two, Congress criticised the Prime Minister and his office for maintaining complete silence on what transpired during the meeting.
“After the meeting we heard from the Chief Minister of J&K but of course, we heard nothing either from the Prime Minister or the PMO. One remark that the chief minister of J&K made during her brief interaction with the press possibly summed up the entire essence of the meeting with the Prime Minister better than anything else,” Tewari said.
The remark that Tewari was hinting at was about Modi yet again invoking Vajpayee's name. According to him, the essence of the J&K chief minister's remarks was that Kashmir is where the former prime minister left it at and that there could not have been a more damning indictment of a complete lack of policy which the BJP government has with regards to the situation in Kashmir.
“Even after the worst phase of militancy in Kashmir between 1989 and 1996, when the assembly elections were held in the state, in October and November of 1996, the poll percentage was 53.92%. When elections were held again in 2002, there was NDA-BJP government at that point in time, the poll percentage was still 43.70%,” Tewari said.
He went on to add that in 2008, during the tenure of the UPA government, the poll percentage went up to 61.16%. In 2014, when there was an NDA-BJP government in the Centre, it was even better at 65.52% and then in the by-election of 2017, it fell to a mere 7%.
Taking jibes at the PM, the former union minister said, “When a re-poll is ordered in some of the booths, the voter turnout is a mere 2%. The prime minister should ask himself that what has gone wrong between 2014 and 2017 that a mere 7% people turned out to vote.”
Talking about the postponement of the Parliamentary by-poll in Anantnag, the continuing tension on the Indo-Pakistan border, the fragile internal security situation in the Valley and the ever increasing and deepening contradictions between the BJP-PDP alliance, Tewari said that these three years should be compared with the previous six years when Congress-National Conference government was in power.
He maintained that during Congress-NC rule, the LoC remained relatively stable and the internal security situation, barring a few months in 2010, remained relatively normal. He spoke about the interlocutor process put in place by the UPA Government whose sole motive was a broad outreach to all spectrum of people across the board in J&K.
“All round development was the prevailing 'Mantra' at that point in time. Many of the projects which the Prime Minister recently inaugurated, all of them were conceived and substantially implemented during those six years,” Tewari added.