‘Are we traitors?’ Congress fumes over Centre’s plan to send 36 Union ministers to Jammu and Kashmir for awareness on Article 370 abrogation

FE Online
Jammu And Kashmir

The Congress party has come down heavily on the Narendra Modi-led central government over its decision to send as many as 36 Union ministers to the Kashmir Valley, their first such visit since the abrogation of Article 370 from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. As part of the mega outreach plan, 36 ministers of the Modi Cabinet will visit different districts in both the divisions of the Union Territory between January 18 and 24.

The ministers will reach out to the people and raise awareness about the positive impact of abrogation of Article 370 provisions and the development measures taken by the government for the region, PTI reported.

Taking strong exception to the Centre’s decision to send its own leaders to Kashmir, while denying access to leaders from Opposition parties, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "According to BJP, only members of its own party are patriots, the rest are all traitors. Only their ministers can visit Jammu and Kashmir. We cannot visit there because we are traitors."

Senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad termed the entire exercise an eyewash. "Whom will they meet there? In our experience, two foreign delegations have been there, they only meet those people who have been sent there by the central government and told what to say."

As per the information shared with the Jammu and Kashmir administration by the Centre, there will be 51 visits to Jammu and eight to Srinagar, PTI reported. While Union minister Smriti Irani will visit Katra and Panthal areas of Reasi district on January 19, her cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal will be in Srinagar.

Minister of State for Home G Kishen Reddy will be in Ganderbal on January 22 and Manigam on January 23, while Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad will visit Sopore in Baramulla district on January 24.

While VK Singh will be in Tikri in Udhampur on January 20, Kiren Rijiju will visit Suchetgarh in Jammu on January 21. On the same day, Union minister RK Singh is scheduled to visit Khellani in Doda district while Shripad Nayak will hold a meeting at SKICC in Srinagar.

Besides them, Union ministers Anurag Thakur, Giriraj Singh, Pralhad Joshi, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Jitendra Singh are among the other ministers who will visit different districts during the period.