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Kashmir Politics: Karra joins Congress
Former Lok Sabha member of Peoples Democratic Party, Tariq Hameed Karra Saturday joined Congress, stating that PDP’s alliance with BJP in J&K had forced him to take the decision.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi welcomed 61-year-old Karra into the party fold.
Karra, who was the founder member of PDP, submitted his resignation from Lok Sabha in September last year protesting against the excesses being committed by government forces in quelling widespread protests after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. The resignation was accepted by the Lok Sabha secretariat in November last year.
At a specially convened press conference, Karra spoke about his decision to quit PDP and join Congress.
He said PDP had sought votes against BJP in 2014 elections. “And rest is history… In 2016 when the unrest started in Kashmir, PDP and BJP in connivance with each other mishandled the situation, maimed and jailed people, blinded children. It was against the conscience of Indian polity and my conscience did not allow me to carry on any further and I resigned from PDP as well as from Lok Sabha.”
“When Mufti (Muhammad Sayeed) sahab joined hands with fascist forces, whom he himself called so, I tried to distance myself and started warning them that since BJP is ideologically opposite to what PDP holds, it would not be in the interest of the State as well as for Indian polity that we should give space to such people and party which has been engaged in putting the social fabric of the country into jeopardy.”
Karra said he alongwith Mufti Sayeed floated PDP in 1999 to take out J&K out of slumber “and till 2014 assembly elections we followed that agenda”.
In 2014 elections, PDP had sought votes against BJP’s emergence and then forged an alliance with the same party. “This and Mr Modi’s jingoistic and polarizing politics forced me to distance myself from PDP.”
In between, I had conversations with Rahul Gandhi from where the process (of joining Congress) started.
“I had extensive discussions with Rahul ji as well as Sonia ji and I was quite happy and elated when I found that they are having definitive ideas about how to bring J&K out of the slumber”.
Earlier, welcoming Karra into the party fold, Rahul Gandhi said he was very happy that someone of his stature was joining the party.
“I welcome him into Congress party and we look forward to working together,” he said at the press conference.
Rahul added that he had met Karra in Lok Sabha and had discussed many issues with him.
On the occasion, party general secretary and incharge of Jammu and Kashmir affairs, Ambika Soni said, “After elections in J&K, he became the conscience keeper of PDP time and again warning the leadership of the PDP that they were going on a wrong track. When he saw no light at the end tunnel he was compelled to leave the ranks of PDP and we are very happy to welcome him.”
She also defended Karra’s views on Kashmir problem, saying, “he has his own positive views of what the roadmap should be and how the alienation, which has set in, can be reversed.”
Karra said he was assured by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi that “in order to fight RSS and other divisive forces, I am at their disposal not only in J&K but elsewhere in India if they feel so”.
J&K PCC President, Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Leader of CPP J&K, Rigzin Jora were present on the occasion.
Karra, whose uncle G M Sadiq was the first Congress chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said there was an urgent need for secular parties to come together to fight the “fascist forces in the state”.