In an embarrasment for BJP, its Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday opposed the party line by coming out in support of the Kashmir interlocutors, saying it is "childish and churlish" to accuse them of internationalising the issue.
Stating that interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar and his team's task of finding a "peaceful and lasting solution" to the Kashmir problem is "almost superhuman", Jethmalani said he "fervently" prayed for their success, despite having "serious misgivings".
"Even if they achieve partial result the nation would owe them a debt of gratitude. Neither by acts nor by words we should add to their difficulties," he said.
BJP had accused Padgaonkar of internationalising the Kashmir problem after he said a solution to the issue was not possible without involving Pakistan. The party had also questioned whether he was given the brief to make such statements by the Centre and sought a clarification from the Prime Minister's Office on the matter.
Now, Jethmalani has taken a position diametrically opposed to that of his party.
"It is childish and churlish to attack them for internalising the issue. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by his confabulations with President Pervez Musharraf and recently Foreign Minister SM Krishna confabulating with his counterpart Mr (Ahmad Shah) Qureshi were exactly doing that," Jethmalani said.
"Dialogue with Pakistan is a compulsory legacy of the Shimla Agreement of 1972. We cannot wish it out of existence," he added.
The eminent lawyer, known for his polemical stand on several issues, maintained that India should have more confidence in the "unchallengeable strength of our title deeds, both moral and legal".
Jethmalani suggested that secular democracies should be asked to mediate on this issue as they would "unhesitatingly" accept India's case. "Talks with Pakistan alone so far have not yielded satisfactory results," he said.
"I appeal to everyone to strengthen our three interlocutors," he added.