NEW DELHI: The BJP appears to have lapped on the statement of former Home Minister P Chidambaram, who reportedly noted in Rajkot that the key issue in Kashmir is autonomy, to put the Congress in a spot. Scores of Union Ministers led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley slammed Chidambaram and asked the Congress to clarify if the party vouched for the statement of the former Home Minister.
"Congress is deceiving the country, itself and encouraging separatism in J&K. It is hurting India's national interest," the news agency quoted Jaitley having said on Chidambaram's statement.
Former Home Minister remarked in Rajkot that the move to appoint an interlocutor in Jammu and Kashmir was a diversionary tactic. Chidambaram also reportedly stated that he was of the belief that the government remains waded in the strategy surrounding muscular approach to solve the Kashmir issue.
"We have succeeded in squeezing the funds of the terrorists, mass protests of stone throwers are by and large over," Jaitely reacted on Chidambaram's comments.
Jaitley also said the NDA government in last 3-3.5 years have had considerable difficulty in re-establishing the network to tackle this crisis. "We have succeeded in squeezing the funds for terrorists. The mass protest of stone throwers are by and large over. Intelligence network from village to village has been reestablished, terrorists are on the run and security forces have the upper hand," he said.
He also asked the Congress to make it clear if Chidambaram's statement is the official stand of the party.
Seeking to draw a comparison between previous government and NDA, the finance minister stated that 10 years of the UPA was a wasted opportunity on Jammu and Kashmir, as not a single initiative worked. He added that terrorism had been on top during UPA reign.
Apparently taking a cue from the social media campaign of the BJP, Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal also sought to go extra aggressive, claiming in a tweet: "Now Congress wants Azadi for Kashmir? Time for Azadi from Congress."
Union minister for information and broadcasting Smriti Irani also took to Twitter to launch an attack on the Congress in the context of Chidambaram's comments on the appointment of an interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir. "Shocking that PC (P Chidambaram) bats for separatists & ‘azadi’ but then not surprising given that their leader supported ‘Bharat tere tukde honge ‘ naara!," tweeted Irani.
She also tweeted: "Shameful given that PC spoke in Gujarat,the birthplace of Sardar Patel ; a man who dedicated his life for the unity & prosperity of India."
On the Congress's view on demonetisation, Jaitley said "the party never had fighting black money on their agenda and therefore, all anti-black money steps that the NDA government has taken are something which disturbed the Congress."
(With PTI inputs)