Dr Jitendra blames Nehruvian blunder for K-problem
We are not Pakistanis or militants; help us come out of tragedy: Farooq
JAMMU, Dec 28: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today that he was ready to hold talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, who are to talk to the Government and declared that the Centre was prepared to hold Assembly elections in the State by providing whatever logistics and security apparatus the Election Commission needs.
His significant statement came while replying to brief debate in the Lok Sabha on passing of resolution on imposition of President’s rule in the State.
National Conference president and former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah made an emotional speech in the Lok Sabha saying: “We are not Pakistanis. We are not militants. We have been caught in precarious situation. Help us come out of this tragedy.” He also batted for finding a way out to hold talks with Pakistan and other stakeholders.
Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh said the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir was an outcome of a series of “blunders” committed by previous Congress Governments in the State starting with the “Nehruvian blunder”.
While asserting that the Centre was ready to hold Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajnath made an unconditional offer for talks with all stakeholders, who want to talk to the Government and maintained he has been asking every leader from the State, who meets him, to suggest solution to Kashmir problem.
“Some say talks should be held with stakeholders. We are ready to talk to everyone in Jammu and Kashmir. We have no problem in talking to those, who are ready to talk. I personally led All Party Delegation to Jammu and Kashmir twice for holding talks. Though I didn’t go, some of the delegation members went to meet them (the separatists). What happened, everyone knows,” Rajnath said referring to few delegation members going to meet Hurriyat Conference leaders, some of whom had shut their doors.
The Home Minister said Dr Farooq Abdullah is a witness that during last four years, the Central Government has extended all possible support and cooperation to solve the Kashmir problem.
Asserting that Kashmir problem is not there for last just 10, 15 or 20 years but beyond that, he said everyone wants solution to the problem.
“Kashmir is not separate from us. They are part of our family. Everyone is worried and concerned about them. Every Kashmir leader I meet, I seek his view point on solution to the problem including what steps the Government can take to address the issue,” he added.
Rajnath Singh said the situation was serious earlier and the Government was trying to improve it. He also referred to the role of PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Dr Farooq Abdullah in helping restoration of normalcy in the Valley.
“Don’t doubt our intentions,” Rajnath told the Lok Sabha members saying “if we had to form the Government in Jammu and Kashmir, we had six months (of the Governor’s rule). We could have formed the Government then. We didn’t make any effort. Even at the end (of Governor’s rule), one or two members might have tried to form the Government on their own”.
He said that no party was in a position to form Government in the State and asserted that the Centre is “ready” for Assembly election in the State.
“The Government doesn’t conduct elections but the Government is ready for the election. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to hold elections… We are totally committed to democratic process,” he said while replying to the Statutory Resolution on imposition of President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
The resolution was adopted by a voice vote.
The Minister assured the House that security requirement of the Election Commission will be met for free and fair Assembly election in the State.
Soon after imposition of the Governor’s Rule in June, Singh said, the Governor’s report of June 19 to the President indicated that no party or coalition of parties in the State was in a position to form Government.
So the Governor’s rule was imposed in these conditions, he said, adding the Assembly was not dissolved for six months in anticipation of formation of Government in the State.
However, no party staked claim to form Government so the Governor had to recommend President’s Rule, he said.
The Home Minister said that no party was in a position to form Government in the State even a day before December 19 when the Governor had to take decision about dissolution of the Assembly.
“The Government is trying to improve the conditions in Kashmir by taking various steps like creating more employment for the people of the State.
Even grassroots democracy is being strengthened, he said, noting that Local Bodies elections have been held after a gap of many years. He added that barring 2-4 districts, polling percentage was very good in the State in the Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat elections.
Speaking on the resolution, National Conference president and former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah made an emotional appeal to the Parliamentarians including the Central Government.
“Please own Jammu and Kashmir. Please own the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We are not Pakistanis. We are not militants. We are part of this land. We have been caught in the turmoil. Please help us come out of this tragedy,” Farooq said.
Farooq said the Centre should help in bringing the State back to normalcy not with killings but by winning hearts of the people.
Asserting that he wasn’t against the killing of militants, Farooq said the problem erupts when civilians are killed and all gains are lost.
“Something has to be done. It has to be done now. Kashmir used to be heaven. Unfortunately, it has been turned into a hell now,” he said and added that some way has to be found for holding talks with that country (Pakistan). He called for giving priority to Kashmir it deserves.
Asserting that only Army and police were not a solution to the problem, he said the Home Minister should meet all stakeholders and take their view point on solution to Kashmir problem.
“We have to move forward without hatred,” he said.
Dr Abdullah reminded the ruling BJP of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s remarks that “we can change our friends but not our neighbours”.
Referring to the proposed NC-PDP-Cong alliance to form government in the State, he said, “The fax machine of the J&K Governor was not working, his phone was not working and I would like to say that Governor’s House is not the place to prove majority but the Assembly is. Governor didn’t wait and dissolved it.”
Expressing anguish over the situation in the Jammu and Kashmir, he said the State is going through great “turmoil” and the turmoil does not seem to end.
Farooq said: “The PDP approached our party and we agreed to provide them support along with the Congress”.
He called for holding Assembly elections in the State as early as possible.
He regretted that a report prepared by Dileep Padgaonkar along with two other Interlocutors has not been submitted to the Parliament despite lapse of several years.
Meanwhile, Union Minister in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh today said the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir is an outcome of a series of “blunders” by successive Congress Governments in the State starting with the “Nehruvian blunder”.
Participating in the debate on statutory resolution for proclamation of President’s Rule in the State, Singh said everyone feels the pain of the people of the State.
Singh blamed the Congress and first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the current crisis in the State and said successive Governments in the State committed blunders.
“The current situation in Kashmir is an outcome of a series of blunders of successive Congress Governments in the State starting with the Nehruvian blunder,” he said.
Singh, who himself hails from Jammu, said the BJP formed an alliance with the PDP, as it was dictated by the people’s mandate.
“It was not an unnatural marriage between parties, infact it was like a typical Indian marriage where two parties with different ideologies came together for the sake of democracy,” he said, adding the BJP walked away from the alliance even when three years of the tenure were pending.
“We formed an alliance as it was dictated by the people’s mandate and walked away from the alliance on the will of the people,” he said.
Taking on the PDP and NC over their proposed alliance to form a Government in the State, Singh said those who don’t see eye to eye came together to keep the BJP out of power.
Without naming any party, he said “competitive separatism” is going on in the State and those who are out of power are speaking in “separatist jargon”.
Meanwhile, the Opposition parties today termed the imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir as “unconstitutional” during a discussion in the Lok Sabha on a statutory resolution that approved President’s Rule in the State.
Initiating the debate, Shashi Tharoor of the Congress said Governor Satya Mal Malik acted in “gross violation” of a Supreme Court order in the S R Bommai case that had stated that whether an alliance has a majority or not can be decided only on the floor of the Assembly.
The Governor’s “private assessment” is anathema to the Constitution and is also subject to personal malfeasance, he said
Malik’s decision to impose Governor’s rule after the NC, PDP and the Congress made a move to form the Government in the State was also in “violation” of the Sarkaria commission’s guidelines on Centre-state relations, he said.
Tharoor also objected to Malik’s rejection of the alliance as a tie-up of parties of ideological variance, saying he should not have arrived at a political determination and added that the earlier alliance of the PDP and the BJP was also a case of “unnatural marriage”.
He suggested that Malik’s action was unconstitutional and asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to share the reasons Malik cited for his action.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed the discussion as a “special case” even as the House had already adopted the resolution moved by Singh earlier in the day.
Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress also termed the Governor’s decision as “arbitrary” and “unconstitutional”.
He also accused the Central Government of “collusion” and claimed that it propped up the rival alliance led by Sajjad Lone, who had the support of “only two MLAs”.
The Government has “failed” in the State, he said and added that over 900 persons have died in militancy-related incidents there so far this year.
BJD’s Bhartruhari Majtab supported the resolution, saying the Governor’s rule in the State had become necessary and noted that its two main regional parties, the NC and PDP, boycotted the Panchayat polls.
He said Assembly elections should be held in the State along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
AIADMK’s P Venugopal expressed his party’s opposition to the imposition of Governor’s rule as a matter of principle and asked the Centre to explain the reasons for taking such an “extreme” step.
Supriya Sule of the NCP said it is not the time for bullets in the State and called for holding elections there.