Chidambaram's comments betray how little understanding Congress has about Kashmir: Jaitley

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Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram

At the National Conference delegates' conference that met today after 15 years, the National Conference also asked the centre to initiative "political dialogue".

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Congress leader P Chidambaram over his advocacy for greater autonomy for Indian-held Kashmir, accusing the opposition party of "shamelessly, lending their voice for Kashmir's azadi... using language... used by the separatists in Kashmir (and)... spoken by Pakistan". "Taking people into confidence during his address at the Dashamah Soundarya Lahari Parayanotsava Mahasarmapane, the Prime Minister said that kin of the slain soldiers seek Congress" response.

"Congress people have no right to criticise the government because it is the party responsible for the Kashmir issue due of its wrong policies and wrong approach towards terrorists", he told reporters. Modi is imagining a ghost and attacking it, Chidambaram said.

"The demand in the Kashmir Valley is to respect in letter and spirit Article 370. The overwhelming majority, they want autonomy". Our solders are guarding our motherland day and night and protecting innocent Kashmiris. "Now I can imagine why the Congress were angry after surgical strike", Modi said. They don't have any shame in saying this.

Mr Chidambaram had in July 2016 advocated greater autonomy for J&K, saying India should restore the "grand bargain" under which Kashmir had acceded by granting a large degree of autonomy to it.

He had warned that otherwise the country will have to pay a "heavy price". He said: "Why are Congress leaders lending their voice to those who want Azadi in Kashmir?" Unable to digest this success, the Congress had issued a fake statement on the Doklam row, he claimed. The Congress has distanced itself from the statement and described it as the "opinion of an individual".

As the comment drew stinging criticism from the BJP and the NDA government, the Congress fielded its chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala to distance the party from Mr Chidambaram's statement.

The finance minister also said the Congress needs to clarify whether this is the party's stand or just the personal opinion of a senior party leader. He termed the Congress the "architect of the present mess" in the state.

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