Rahul retorts to J&K Governor Malik’s barb as tussle continues
Gandhi had on Tuesday accepted Malik’s public invitation to have him over in J&K so that the Congress leader could be better informed about the ground situation there. Malik attempted to rub it in, offering to send a plane for Gandhi to travel to Kashmir.Updated: Aug 15, 2019 00:01 IST
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday delivered a stinging retort to Jammu & Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik as part of the ongoing back-and-forth between them over the situation in the Valley.
Gandhi had on Tuesday accepted Malik’s public invitation to have him over in J&K so that the Congress leader could be better informed about the ground situation there. Malik attempted to rub it in, offering to send a plane for Gandhi to travel to Kashmir.
Malik’s invite was meant as a barb but Gandhi, nevertheless, took him up on the offer. However, instead of the plane Malik offered, Gandhi asked if he and a group of opposition leaders could be given the “freedom” to travel freely and meet people, political leaders and soldiers in J&K.
Malik didn’t respond to this but a statement from Raj Bhavan on Tuesday evening accused Gandhi of politicising the incident. The statement also said Malik had forwarded Gandhi’s request to the state administration to see whether it was possible to accept these “conditions”.
On Wednesday, Gandhi attempted to breathe life into the scrapped invite, saying he was willing to withdraw the “conditions”. “I accept your invitation to visit Jammu & Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached. When can I come?” he said, addressing the governor as “Maalik ji”, or master, instead of “Malik”.
Soon after, the governor’s office said the matter had been referred to the local administration, which would get in touch with Gandhi at a convenient time.
“Shri Rahul Gandhi has taken four days to respond on an issue, which already stands clarified and settled by various Indian news channels which have reported the correct position. At present, the entire state administration is pre-occupied with making arrangements for the celebration of Independence Day,” a fresh Raj Bhavan statement said.
“Hon’ble Governor has already referred the matter to the local Administration which will get in touch with the MP at a convenient time. Hon’ble Governor has no further statement to make on this issue,” the statement added.
Earlier, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram hit out at Malik, claiming his invitation to Gandhi was a “tool of propaganda” and never sincere.
“J&K Governor’s invitation to Rahul Gandhi was never a sincere invitation. It was a tool of propaganda. To say that Rahul Gandhi put conditions is rubbish. Rahul Gandhi asked for freedom to meet everyone, including soldiers. How is that putting conditions?
First Published: Aug 15, 2019 00:01 IST