INDORE – Dismissing the BJP’s allegations that Congress leaders were speaking Pakistan’s language on scrapping of Article 370, party MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday asserted they are only saying how the residents of Jammu & Kashmir should be treated.
The former Union minister rejected suggestions that statements of the opposition party’s leaders on scrapping of special status under Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, by the Centre were benefiting the neighbouring country.
Talking to reporters, Tharoor said, “These allegations (by the BJP), that Pakistan is benefiting from our statements on the issue of Article 370, are surprising.”
“We, as an opposition party, are saying that how the citizens of a part of India (J&K) should be treated. We are not saying anything that will benefit or make Pakistan happy,” the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala said.
“Pakistan has no right to interfere in India’s internal affairs. But, as an opposition party, we have every right to say that the Government of India should follow the democratic process by taking along its people in the event of making major constitutional changes,” Tharoor said.
The UN diplomat-turned-politician said, “There is no difference between the Congress stand internationally with that of the Indian government on the issue of J&K. Anyway, the current BJP-led government is following the policies of the Congress on international issues.”
Talking about US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation on the Kashmir issue, the Congress leader asserted there was no role for a third party.
“India does not need any third party mediation to negotiate with Pakistan. But, we cannot negotiate with Pakistan as long as the neighbouring country has a gun in one hand and a bomb in the other,” Tharoor said.
Taking a dig at the Centre over the issue of refugees, he said, “Two days back, on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, our Home Minister (Amit Shah) said that Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh refugees don’t need to fear.
“Does this mean that if you are a Muslim (refugee), you will not be welcomed in this country? This is not the India Mahatma Gandhi had struggled to liberate. The Prime Minister has written a good article on Mahatma Gandhi for ‘New York Times”. But Bapu’s ideals must be lived up to,” he said.
The Congress MP termed Trump’s statement describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “Father of India” as strange.
“Nobody has any doubt about who is the father of our country. But Trump does not know that India was liberated in 1947, while Modi was born after the country’s independence. It is not possible that children are born before their father,” he quipped.
“Modi sometimes does such things which denote that his idea is India was born in 2014 (the year Modi became Prime Minister for the first time),” Tharoor said.
Describing the current economic situation as very worrisome, Tharoor said Prime Ministers of previous Congress governments had never said, like PM Modi does, that ”all is well” in the country.
“You know that dialogue – all is well – has been taken from Hindi film ”3 Idiots”,” the Congress leader said. (PTI)