Press Trust of india

Govt needs to take CBMs on J&K: Cong

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New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday said the Centre should come out with confidence-building measures on Jammu and Kashmir, stressing the ball is now in the central government’s court on the way forward there.

Reiterating his party’s demand for granting full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the approach adopted by various parties is minimalistic and the government’s response should accordingly be “more inclusive and warming”.

“All the parties exercised great restraint, despite having several demands – extreme or moderate. All parties tried to find a middle converging ground and I think the government should appreciate the fact that there was a large degree of attempt to converge. Now the ball is in the government’s court,” he said.

The remarks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with various political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on holding elections.

On National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s call for building trust and that the plebiscite was not carried out in Jammu and Kashmir even after the prime minister of the time promised so, Singhvi said the same has been said is in a historical perspective.

“Nobody is talking of plebiscite. What Mr Farooq Abdullah was saying, is a historical point. Nobody is talking of even other issues, some of which are sub judice,” he told reporters.

“But, certainly this is a minimalistic thing and the government should appreciate the minimalistic approach which should, in fact, spur the government to greater attempts.

“Because, if the demands are minimalistic and reasonable for the time being, then the response should also be in that proportion — more inclusive and more warming,” Singhvi said.

Abdullah has said there was “a level of mistrust” in Jammu and Kashmir and it was for the Centre to remove it. He also said the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised plebiscite to the people of J&K but went back on it.

Singhvi said while the Congress may not agree with every formulation of other parties in Jammu and Kashmir, it is undeniable that there is unanimity in a large section of non-BJP political spectrum regarding Jammu and Kashmir “that statehood is an imperative, urgent necessity, desire, absolutely essential for that state”.

He said confidence-building measures will go along with such statehood and no one will grudge even if the process is slow.

“I don’t think the country will grudge the government if it shows concrete steps on the ground. Unfortunately, concrete steps on the ground, even small little low-hanging fruit steps are not visible. That is the tragedy,” the Congress leader said.

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