NEW DELHI: The crisis in Jammu and Kashmir has come to represent the “colossal failure” of the Modi government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Tuesday at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Ms. Gandhi launched a blistering attack on the ruling dispensation, holding them responsible for the “insensitive handling” of the Kashmir situation. Both the Centre and the state government were “systematically alienating and antagonising the local population, especially the youth,” she alleged.
There was relative calm earlier in Kashmir but now there is growing confrontation, tension and fear. The crisis in Jammu and Kashmir had come to represent the colossal failure of the government, she said.
“We must be ready to protect the essence and idea of India, which this government is seeking to extinguish. There is a brazen campaign to straitjacket the whole country into regressive and narrow-minded world view during the three years of NDA government,” she added.
After the meeting held at 10 Janpath, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and CWC member Ghulam Nabi Azad said the schedule of the organisational polls was discussed but not the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as president of the party. To a question on the fate of the resolution passed at the last CWC meeting in November 2016 asking Mr Gandhi to take over the reins of the party, he said, “That was not discussed.”
The upcoming presidential and vice presidential elections were briefly discussed as was Ms Gandhi’s initiative on bringing Opposition parties together on the issue.
It was decided that Kashmir was too important an issue for party members to speak in different voices. The party committee that was set up under former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Kashmir will formulate a position of the party.
Singh, who made an intervention on the economic situation, said the country’s growth has slowed down mainly because of demonetisation and the economy is running on just one engine of public spending.
He said the private sector investment had collapsed under the Modi government, that the “economy is running on just one engine of public spending” and that “the construction industry, which is one of the largest employment generators in the country, has suffered a contraction “. He pointed out that the most worrisome aspect was the negative impact on job creation.
The CWC meeting was attended by among others by Mr Gandhi, P Chidambaram and Ambika Soni.
—With inputs from PTI