PM Modi is attacking an imagined ghost, says P Chidambaram

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Taking a dig at the Congress ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Executive Meet, Dr Singh said, "I think all of us need to remind P Chidambaram (the Congress leader) the kind of situation we face in Kashmir today is an accumulative outcome of the axe of omission and commission committed by his party, which was at the helm of affairs for as many as nearly seventy years after Independence both in the state and the Center".

He said that the Kashmir problem is the Congress's legacy, adding "now instead of learning from its past mistakes, the Congress wants to precipitate a crisis for this country". "Therefore, I think we should seriously examine that question and consider on what areas we can give autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir", he was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

The Congress and former Union minister Chidambaram yesterday invited sharp criticism from the BJP over his remark pitching for greater autonomy for the restive Jammu and Kashmir. He said: "Why are Congress leaders lending their voice to those who want Azadi in Kashmir?"

Gupta criticised the Congress leader's remarks as "opportunistic, contradictory, misleading and motivated". At this stage to rationalize Azadi, Congress is just deceiving the country, itself and encouraging separatism in the state which is a very serious issue. The Congress has distanced itself from the statement and described it as the "opinion of an individual".

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Ms Irani said, standing in the state of Gujarat, the land of Sardar patel who united India, what message Mr Chidambaram and Congress is trying to give, that at their doorstep of political gain they are willing to sacrifice nationhood. He termed the Congress the "architect of the present mess" in the state.

He said that the party had constituted a policy-planning group under the chairmanship of former prime minister Manmohan Singh to carry forward the peace initiative in the state.

"So, it would be wrong to prejudge the issue", he said.