Chidambaram says PM Modi ‘imagining a ghost’ on J-K autonomy issue

Chidambaram said it was obvious that the prime minister had not read the whole answer to the question put to him on Jammu and Kashmir at an event in Rajkot on Saturday.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: October 29, 2017 7:44 pm
P Chidambaram, Kashmir, Kashmir Azadi, india news, indian express news P Chidambaram at the event in Rajkot on Saturday. (Express Photo by Chirag Chotaliya)

Retorting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s criticism of his remarks on Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Sunday that he was “imagining a ghost and attacking it” and maintained that those criticising him should first read his comments. Chidambaram said it was obvious that the prime minister had not read the whole answer to the question put to him on Jammu and Kashmir at an event in Rajkot on Saturday.

“Those who criticise must read the whole answer and tell me which word in the answer was wrong. The PM is imagining a ghost and attacking it,” he told reporters in the capital. Asked during an interaction in Rajkot whether he still felt that Jammu and Kashmir should be accorded greater autonomy to defuse the unrest in the valley, he said. “Yes…The demand in Kashmir Valley is to respect in letter and spirit Article 370. And that means that they want greater autonomy. My interactions in Jammu and Kashmir led me to the conclusion that when they ask for ‘azadi’, most people-I am not saying all-(an) overwhelming majority want autonomy.”

“Therefore, I think we should seriously examine that question and consider on what areas we can give autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir,” the former Union home minister said. Observing that granting such autonomy will be “perfectly within the Constitution of India”, Chidambaram said, “Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India but it will have larger powers as promised under Article 370 (of the Constitution).”

At a rally in Bengaluru, the prime minister today came down heavily on the veteran Congress leader, terming his statement “shameful”. Without taking Chidambaram’s name, Modi said, “All of a sudden, those who were in power till yesterday have taken a U-turn. Shamelessly, they are making a statement and are lending their voice for Kashmir’s azadi.” “We will not make any compromise on the country’s unity and integrity nor will allow anyone to do so,” he said.

The prime minister said it was a reprehensible attempt by the Congress to support those calling for ‘azadi’ in Kashmir and this was nothing but “an insult to our soldiers”. The Congress has already distanced itself from Chidambaram’s comments. In a statement, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala has said, “Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh is an integral part of Indian Union and will always remain so unquestionably… (The) opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the Indian National Congress. In our democracy, individuals are entitled to opinions.”

Today, Chidambaram also said neither the Congress nor him had criticised the “surgical strike” carried out by the Indian Army on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in September, 2016. “We pointed out that these were cross-border actions and such actions had been done in the past too, as admitted by the Army Chief,” he added.

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  1. M
    M A Bhatti.
    Oct 30, 2017 at 11:25 am
    J k and Kazakh is an integral part of India only in papers.when will the Modi Govt.take procession of the pak .occupied area.of J k?what about the Chhamb sector of Jammu region?have you surrendered it to Pakistan?
    1. S
      Sarala Jagan
      Oct 30, 2017 at 10:21 am
      For a reputed economist who has no qualms to admitting that shadow economy flourished during his regime,he thrived on it,the ghosts will step out to haunt him and the PM.The integral honesty has to be lauded
      1. Sankaran Krishnan
        Oct 30, 2017 at 7:38 am
        The query to the so called Fake and Jalra Leader of the Congress Party Chidambaram - What the you and your party are doing and why the same was not considered during the corrupt UPA regime and who had prevented you in granting such autonomy as claimed by you to the J K and to whom you are cheating. The Congress Party lost its credibility due to their own act and the views are not taken seriously and that too in your party they had distanced your views stating it is your personal view says it all HOW they treat the Leaders and till now the congress party had not learned from their mistakes shows them very poorly !!!
        1. Deep Salam
          Oct 30, 2017 at 6:56 am
          Chup baith chaddi chor, you all rogues looted the indians and filled in your coffers, you talk of Kashmir...??? Your rightful place is in Tihar jail for life long, all properties to be confiscated yours and your families...
          1. shanthi salamath
            Oct 30, 2017 at 5:27 am
            Modi has nothing to tell what he has done so far for the nation. An extremely failed prime minister in the history of India. Now nothing to show unless this types of talks against the Congress leader. Chidambaram said a fact and remaining parts of his speech cannot go unheard. It can give a resounding knowledge behind his talks and what he does say.
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