By Nishant Ketu
New Delhi [India], June 12 (ANI): Union minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday joined the chorus of ministers and BJP leaders who criticised Congress leader Digvijaya Singh's remarks that his party would consider reinstating Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power.
Singh had allegedly made these remarks while participating in a Clubhouse chat on the issue where he had responded to a question by a Pakistan journalist who asked what the Congress party would do on Article 370 if it happens to return to power at the Centre.
"Digvijay Singh's statement shows that to claim power, he is ready to co-operate with those who run anti-India agendas. He will take support from anti-India forces for power. This is unfortunate. The entire Congress party should apologize for this", the Union Minister of State for finance told ANI.
"What the Congress has done in Jammu and Kashmir during the last 70 years is sad, but Singh's statements are even sadder", Thakur said.
The BJP leader said that Digvijaya, a close aide of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi indicates the condition of the Congress party, which is "like a fish without water."
"Such a statement coming from one of its (Congress') veteran leaders shows what the mindset of the Gandhi family is , what the mindset of the Congress is. Today when they are out of power, the condition of Congress is like a fish without water", he said.
Thakur alleged that it was because of the policies of the Congress party that thousands of people had lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir. "The real face of Congress party has now been revealed. Thousands of people have lost their lives in Kashmir over the years, be it the security forces, citizens of Kashmir or citizens of other states of India, they were all due to the policies of the Congress, which maintained a distance between Kashmir and the rest of the country", he said.
He pointed out that ever since PM Narendra-Modi led government had came to power, the Union territory got freedom from Article 370 and 35A.
"Terrorist incidents have reduced in Kashmir. Incidents of stone pelting have decreased. Kashmir has started moving foward in development. For the first time, an entire apple crop was procured in Kashmir. Many such steps were taken which were in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir", he said.
Clubhouse is an invite-only app where chatrooms are created on various issues and speakers are invited to talk on the virtual platform.
Earlier in the day, the alleged clubhouse chat of Digvijaya with a Pakistani journalist was released on Twitter by BJP leader Amit Malviya.
After this BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra and other leaders of the party including union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan slammed the Congress policy towards Pakistan.
"This is the same Digvijaya Singh, who had termed the Pulwama attack just an accident. He had called the 26/11 attack a conspiracy of RSS and also tried to give clean chit to Pakistan at that time. It is all part of that toolkit. Digvijaya Singh said if Modi ji comes out of power and Congress's government comes, it will re-establish Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir," Patra said.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said rather than instigating Kashmiri brethren, Digvijaya Singh must take a lesson in patriotism from average Kashmiris.
"Instead of playing to the gallery across the border, Congress must come to terms with the abrogation of article 370. Jamuriyat was only in hands of the ruling elite. Insaniyat died when instigators of violence sent their own kids abroad and gave stones to children of common folk," tweeted Hardeep Singh Puri.
"Kashmiriyat died a million deaths when Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of the valley overnight and continue to be gunned down even today. Instead of instigating our Kashmiri brethren, Digvijaya Singh must take a lesson in patriotism from average Kashmiris," added the union minister.
In the audio clip of the Clubhouse chat released by BJP's Amit Malviya, Digvijaya is heard saying: "Democracy was not there in Kashmir when they revoked Article 370. Then Insaniyat was not there because they had put everyone behind bars. Kashmiriyat is something that is basically the fundamentals of secularism. Because in a Muslim majority state, there was a Hindu Raja and both were together. In fact, Kashmiri Pundits were given reservations in Kashmir in government services. So, therefore, the decision of revoking Article 370 and reducing the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir is an extremely sad decision. And the Congress Party would certainly have to have a relook into this issue." (ANI)