February 2017 News

Congress Gets Taste Of Kashmir Blunt Attack

18 February 2017
The Telegraph (Kolkata)

New Delhi: A former parliamentarian, minister and one of the founder members of the Peoples Democratic Party, Tariq Hameed Karra, today joined the Congress and instantly triggered a controversy by describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a 'small man sitting in a big chair'. Although the Congress has been critical of the Prime Minister, it is not used to blunt attacks such as the one mounted by the Kashmiri leader, without caring for political niceties and personal courtesies. Having quit the PDP because of its alliance with the BJP, Karra freely vented his feelings from the Congress podium. Although Rahul Gandhi, who formally welcomed the veteran leader into the Congress at the news conference, had left by then, Karra put the party in a spot by describing army chief Bipin Rawat's remarks on Kashmiri youth as 'politically motivated.' Responding to a question, he said: 'The army chief's statement is politically motivated.' Asked if the Congress endorsed his view, the general secretary in charge of Kashmir, Ambika Soni, salvaged the situation by arguing: 'I don't think he said army chief's statement was politically motivated. He said the BJP and the minister in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, tried to politicise his statement.' Karra got the clue and himself tried to sweeten the pill, catching on that the Congress would not like to directly attack the army chief. He altered his line to say: 'It is unfortunate that political colour is being given to his statement.' Earlier, he had said: 'The statement is politically motivated. It is unfortunate even the army is being politicised. Modi can't even save the independence of the army. Modi is not PM material.' Karra, who defeated National Conference chairperson Farooq Abdullah in the last Lok Sabha election, said: 'The PDP was formed in 1999 against fascist forces. In 2014, we sought votes against the BJP's emergence in the state, against Modi's jingoist, polarising politics. I warned Mufti (Mohammed Sayeed) not to align with the BJP. The PDP is diametrically opposite to the BJP ideology. This alliance is not good for the state and the nation. When the unrest began in 2016, Kashmiri people were maimed in connivance with the PDP and the BJP. Children were blinded and killed.' Ambika Soni said Karra quit the PDP because it was going in the wrong direction and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. 'He has his own positive views of what the roadmap should be... and how the alienation process which has set in can be reversed and Kashmir can be an integral part of the Indian mainstream,' she said.