Cong, BJP spar over Kashmir issue in C'garh Assembly

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Raipur, Aug 22: The Chhattisgarh Assembly today witnessed uproar over statements of some BJP MLAs who blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for the Kashmir problem.

The special day-long session had been called to ratify the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST. While senior BJP MLA Devjibhai Patel was speaking on the uniformity in taxation system from "Kashmir to Kanyakumari" which GST would bring, a Congress member mentioned the ongoing turmoil in Kashmir.

Chhattisgarh

Patel said the country's first Prime Minister was responsible for the problems in Kashmir, to which the Congress MLAs objected. Another ruling party MLA, Shivratan Sharma, said the country is still suffering consequences of Nehru's decisions on Kashmir and he was solely responsible for Kashmir problem.

State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said such comments were highly objectionable. Echoing him, the leader of opposition T S Singhdeo referred to a book by a former IAS officer to state that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had argued that Kashmir, being a Muslim-majority area, should go to Pakistan.

It was Nehru who sent troops when the Pakistani tribesmen advanced in the valley, he pointed out. Singhdeo also said his party was ready for discussion on the issue, to which Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ajay Chandrakar said BJP too was ready for the same.

But the Speaker pacified both of them. Later, during his reply to the discussion on GST, Chief Minister Raman Singh stressed that Sardar Patel had never said that Kashmir should have been a part of Pakistan. Patel merged the princely states with Union of India, and credit for the present shape of India goes to him, he said.

Singh also made a comment about rulers of the princely states, to which Singhdeo took objection. Raman Singh said he was ready to hold a discussion on Kashmir issue in the Assembly. However, the issue was not further discussed and the GST bill was ratified unanimously.

PTI

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