Jaitley hits out at AAP over Bhushan's remarks on Kashmir

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Arun Jaitley
New Delhi, Jan 6: Strongly opposing AAP leader Prashant Bhushan's suggestion on deployment of armed forces in Kashmir with the consent of people, BJP on Monday hit out at his party for taking a "weak" stand on national security issues and said these cannot be decided by populism or referendum.

Stating that it was "regrettable" that a party with national ambitions was adopting a position similar to that of Pakistan and the separatists who were hostile to India's interests, Mr. Jaitley hoped that sensible elements in AAP will seek to reverse this "soft" stand, otherwise "the slope downwards will be faster than the movement upwards".

"The issues of national security cannot be decided by populism or referendum. They can only be decided on security considerations. Till such time the infrastructure of terror remains, the presence of the army in Jammu & Kashmir is essential," the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said.

The issues of national security cannot be decided by populism or referendum

Lashing out at the Aam Aadmi Party, he said, "It is Pakistan which has been suggesting the de-militarisation of the Valley. Some separatist groups have been echoing that demand. It is regrettable that for a party like the Aam Aadmi Party which nourishes national ambitions, should adopt a position hostile to India's interests," Mr. Jaitley said.

AAP leader Prashant Bhushan had on Sunday suggested that the issue of army presence in the Kashmir Valley may be decided by a referendum of the people in the Valley.

The BJP leader pointed out that the same leader had two years ago suggested a plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir where people must be free to decide whether they wish to stay with India or otherwise.

Mr. Jaitley's remarks came even as Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday distanced from the views of Mr. Bhushan saying decisions on internal security are taken based on the law and order situation and there cannot have referendum on deployment of the army in Kashmir.

PTI

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