A DAY after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met a delegation of Opposition parties from Jammu and Kashmir and called for dialogue to address the current unrest in the Valley, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member P Chidambaram Tuesday said such a meeting must be welcomed if it is the first sign of “fresh thinking”.
The Congress, however, said the Prime Minister’s actions lacked sincerity, and that the political leadership has failed to deal with the volatile situation in the state.
At the same time, the main Opposition party welcomed Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s decision to visit the Valley Wednesday, with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad saying that the government should have done this “long ago”.
“They have already wasted one-and-a-half months…and precious lives have been lost,” Azad said. “This would not have happened had the government accepted the demand of the entire Opposition on July 18 that an all-party delegation should be sent to Kashmir.”
According to Azad, had the government initiated dialogue then, “we would not have reached the present state”.
He said, “We expect the Home Minister to start some conciliatory measures, and also the process of dialogue will start. We are not suggesting with whom they should have a dialogue — because if we suggest somebody, they will criticise that also…. We are (only) saying that talks should be held with mainstream, non-mainstream and other stakeholders. It is for the government and the state government to identify the parties.”
Azad said the government should “at least start something, begin somewhere to end the impasse”.
In multiple tweets, Chidambaram, former Union home minister, said, “Yesterday’s meeting between PM & J&K opposition parties: if it is the first sign of fresh thinking, we must welcome it…(the) next step should be sending all parties [all-party] delegation to J&K.”