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'PM changing Kashmir's geography'

Jaitley criticised Singh for attempting to re-shape the Valley's fate by being liberal towards Pakistan, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 02:01 IST

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley on Friday said that PM Manmohan Singh’s liberal approach towards Pakistan on the Kashmir issue showed that "he wants to change geography to get into books of history not knowing that history can be written in black letters too and not just in golden letters."

Giving his assessment of the UPA’s record in 2006, Jaitley said somebody obviously convinced Singh that his name would be written in golden letters if he were to take a liberal approach with Pakistan notwithstanding the national sentiments in the aftermath of bombings in Delhi, Varanasi and Mumbai.

"After this, Singh not only abandoned India's position that Kashmir's portion under Pakistan control was Indian territory but by talking about joint control in LoC, giving a foothold for Pakistan President General Musharraf, he succumbed to Pakistan's trap of diverting terror from the international focus and bring Kashmir under the arc lights."

The BJP leader said, “the PM must realise that surrender (to Pakistan) is no solution to the Kashmir problem.”

Saying that the PM and the Congress gave enough opportunities to the BJP to pursue “aggressive nationalist policies”, Jaitley said a weak Congress-led UPA government pursued third front agenda of pandering the religion and caste-based vote bank politics.

He said, "It showed that the Congress had pursued style and substance that was alien to the party known for a strong leadership pedalling-centric agenda and rallying the people around the dynasty.

"The Left, Lalu Prasad or Mulayam Singh set the agenda and a weak Congress leadership pursued it without making inroads into either caste or religion-based polity while antagonising one section of society."

Jaitley considered the PM’s 'Muslims first' remark and the Sachar panel’s findings on Muslims’ status or delaying the death for Parliament attack convict Afzal for elections should all be taken in this background. "It is very good for his party to occupy non-Jehadi space. There is no competition for BJP in this space," he remarked.

As for the Indo-US nuclear deal, Jaitley said, "The PM as an economist was overawed by the lure of nuclear power even at the cost of compromise on foreign policy and nuclear preparedness."

On the economic policies, he said, "The Finance Minister in the UPA is a revenue secretary. And even if he wants to take steps, the Left stops him. The Congress-led government is a high taxation regime," he said, citing the current level of taxes in a variety of sectors.

First Published: Dec 30, 2006 02:01 IST