Senior Congress leader Dr. Karan Singh believes that the exit of Ghulam Nabi Azad from the party will have an impact on Jammu and Kashmir's politics.
"He (Azad) is intelligent, whatever step he has taken, he must have taken it after careful consideration. It will have an impact on the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir," Dr Singh, who is from the erstwhile royal family of Jammu and Kashmir, said.
"Azad is a very good friend of mine. We have been together since the time I contested the elections for the second time in 1971 and our relationship is more than 50-year old. As per my knowledge, many people are leaving the Congress to join him," he added.
Dr Singh, who is feeling alienated from the Congress party, spoke to IANS on a range of issues.
Here's excerpts from the interview:
Q: Will you also leave the party?
A: I am 90-year old; I know what I should do and what I should not.
Q: Your reaction to the declaration of government holiday on September 23 - the birth anniversary of your father Maharaja Hari Singh...
A: I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha for approving a government holiday on September 23.
My sons Ajatashatru and Vikramaditya were members of the Legislative Council when they proposed a resolution regarding the holiday. But further action was not taken... In the last few months, there was a lot of struggle. The younger generation came forward, fought and worked on it and no religion opposed this, everyone had supported the demand (of government holiday on September 23).
Q: Being a Congress leader, how appropriate is it to praise BJP leaders? Will there be any stir due to this?
A: Why will there be turmoil? It is not the right for any one party to take credit for accepting this demand (of public holiday); if BJP had to do it, they would have done it three years ago. There was a movement on this, after hard efforts, this movement went ahead. It wouldn't be appropriate if any party would like to take credit for it. It was the demand of the people, and the people are from every party.
Q: Will there be any change with Rahul Gandhi taking to the streets on the issue of inflation?
A: It is difficult to say, the journey (Bharat Jodo Yatra) has just begun. Connecting with people on the ground has benefits... But it is difficult to say how much impact it will have.
Q: Should the Kashmiri Pandits be respectfully rehabilitated in Jammu and Kashmir?
A: I am very grateful to Kashmiri Pandits; I have done all my education through them. This community is very promising. They are well-educated people. There was a lot of injustice done to them and they had to leave Kashmir at that time. I was not there when this had happened, and by the time I arrived, everyone had left.
A lot of efforts are being made to rehabilitate them; even some places are also being built for them but not many people are returning back. It is difficult for them to return unless their heart connects with the people there.
My family had ruled the region and there was never any conflict or tension at that time; everyone stayed together. However, in the 1990s, a lot went wrong and I am very sad about it.
Q: Will you put the matter of Kashmiri Pandits rehabilitation before the Prime Minister by writing him a letter?
A: Right now there is no such idea, but I will consider it... However people will not return back to Kashmir (in sizable numbers) till the situation in the Valley gets improved.
Q: How do you look at the ongoing temple-mosque dispute in the country as the matter is in the Supreme Court?
A: What can we say on it... It is up to the Supreme Court to decide. Our mutual (Hindu-Muslim) relations should be very good and whatever the matter is, it should be dealt with mutual consent. Violence is no solution, it spoils society. At the time when the country is celebrating Amrit Mahotsav, we have to connect the people. Otherwise, the country will suffer.
Q: Congress accuses the BJP of spreading communal tension, what will you say?
A: No comments