The BJP and Congress on Monday clashed on Jawaharlal Nehru’s Kashmir policy, with Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri slamming Nehru’s decision to take the matter to the UN as a “folly” and “monumental blunder”.
The Congress paid rich tributes to Nehru on his 133rd birth anniversary, as party leaders said there are “motivated attempts” to malign him and that Union ministers are “abusing Pandit-ji every day.”
Rijiju, who has criticised Nehru on multiple occasions in recent days, said in a series of tweets that Nehru let the “myth” of a UN-mandated plebiscite in J&K perpetuate and created the “divisive” Article 370. “Nehru was aware even in June 1947 that all that Hari Singh wanted was to join the Indian dominion. Nehru stated as much in his note to Mountbatten…people of this region, along with the rest of India, deserve to know the truth of what actually happened…” he posted.
In Srinagar, Puri said, “Why was the (Kashmir) issue taken to international or multinational for a? My information has been that then Maharaja Hari Singh was happy to sign the instrument of accession…. But the political leadership in Delhi was saying they wanted it (accession) to be more broad based and therefore they wanted a plebiscite. So they wanted to take it to a multilateral forum.”
He said, “Was it an error of judgment? You can say the man (Nehru) made a mistake but you cannot justify it. The historical facts are staring you in the face that making the reference (to multinational fora) and calling for a plebiscite is not a folly, I think it is a monumental blunder…”
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh countered by tweeting, “(Mo)Distorians will continue to distort, defame and denigrate but Nehru continues to inspire and his relevance has only increased after 2014.”
With PTI inputs