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Congress J&K chief distances from Mehbooba Mufti stand on tricolour, asks her to ‘look within’ PDP

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NEW DELHI: Congress’ J&K unit president Ghulam Ahmad Mir has reminded PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s two party colleagues are Members of Parliament, where the Tricolour flutters atop. Mir was reacting to Mufti’s recent resolve not to raise the Tricolour until the erstwhile state’s flag was restored. BJP has been using her remark widely in the Bihar polls.

“When Mehboobaji speaks about not raising the Indian Tricolour without restoring the state flag, it is better she remembers her two PDP colleagues are continuing as Members of Parliament where the Tricolour flutters high. It would be better if she first looked within her family, the PDP, to find out what her own members think about what she preaches,” Mir told ET. He was referring to Nazir Ahmad Laway and Fayaz Ahmad Mir continuing as Rajya Sabha MPs. While PDP last year claimed it “sacked” Laway for attending the swearing-in ceremony of the LG, both continue as PDP MPs of the Rajya Sabha.

Disassociating from the Mufti’s post-release political positioning, something that prompted J&K Congress to keep off the recent all-opposition parties’ meet in Srinagar, Mir said: “For us (the J&K Congress), it is not about waging a war but about raising and fighting some issues of political, procedural and ideological violations involved in the abrogation of the Article 370.” Mir also had a subtle message for Mufti and the Abdullahs.

“When the Modi government rushed the bill in Parliament on August 5, 2019, it was Congress that led many other opposition parties in articulating the procedural and constitutional violations in the manner Article 370 was abrogated and the state divided into two UTs. The CWC resolution too articulated our views. But, the two PDP MPs chose not to state their party’s views on record and instead indulged in some drama in the name of protest. And (NC leader) Farooq Abdhullah, who along with Omar Abdullah had met PM Modi just a couple of days before in Delhi, for whatever reason was not present in Parliament the day the bill was introduced”.

Mir said: “Our stand has been that let the Constitutional and procedural violations in the manner the bill was passed in abrogating Article 370 and in stripping J&K of its statehood be addressed in a democratic manner by ‘the state’ assembly.” Mir also pointed out his party had always been “for addressing” certain issues arising out of the Article 370. “When we were in J&K governments as coalition partners of NC and PDP, the state Congress had always favoured addressing some alleged discriminations due to provisions in Article 370 and also about gender discrimination due to Article 35(A).”

Mir, who is now the most important link between J&K Congress and Congress’ central leadership, especially after the sidelining of Ghulam Nabi Azad following the ‘letter-writing episode’, indicated his party was not in a hurry to return to the all-opposition conclave in Srinagar. “I have noticed the PDP and NC call such meetings at very short notices without intimating the agenda. Congress is a national party with a national perspective. We also have a policy-planning panel headed by ex-PM Manmohan Singh on J&K affairs. We are now discussing the developments in Srinagar with our colleagues in Srinagar, Jammu and Ladakh. The high command is also seized of the matter. Since many of our national leaders are currently busy with the Bihar election campaign, we will discuss the matter at an appropriate time.”

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