The Congress also asked the government to immediately begin a political dialogue and take all Opposition parties into confidence.
New Delhi: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took up Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik’s bait of sending a helipcopter for him to visit the state, but said he didn’t need an aircraft, just the freedom for him along with other Opposition leaders to be allowed to travel unimpeded across the state. The Congress also asked the government to immediately begin a political dialogue and take all Opposition parties into confidence on what was happening in the state.
Mr Malik had on Monday invited Mr Gandhi to visit J&K, saying he would send an aircraft for him, after the Congress leader said: “People were dying in the state and the situation is not normal, as the government claims.”
The Wayanad MP, now on a visit to his constituency, was quick to respond Tuesday, tweeting: “Dear Governor Malik: A delegation of Opposition leaders & I will take you up on your gracious invitation to visit J&K and Ladakh. We won’t need an aircraft but please ensure us the freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers stationed over there.”
In New Delhi, Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said: “The reaction by the governor only to Rahul Gandhi is not enough. Mr Gandhi does not need his hospitality. All Opposition parties should be asked to go to Kashmir.”
“We demand that the government take the first step and start an immediate political dialogue in which all the
Opposition parties should be taken into confidence,” he said, adding for this it was also important that leaders and former chief ministers now in detention are released.
Mr Sharma said that it was high-time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah call an all-party meeting and take all the Opposition leaders into confidence.
AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was on a visit to Sonebhadra in UP where 10 dalits were gunned down recently, said the abrogation of Article 370 had been done in an unconstitutional manner. “The way in which it was done is totally unconstitutional and against the principles of democracy,” she told the media.
The other Opposition parties were not too enthused. Said CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury: “If the governor is sending a plane for Rahul Gandhi now, why did he stop us entering Srinagar when we went there?”