US President Donald Trump, as has been the hallmark of his Presidency, has triggered another controversy with his remarks on Kashmir. He claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested him to mediate between India and Pakistan regarding Kashmir.
Now, despite numerous clarifications by the Indian government, the opposition is adamant that Modi should issue a statement on the matter on the floor of the House. Chants of “Pradhan Mantri, jawab do, jawab do” were raised inside the Parliament as well and Opposition parties even staged a walk-out over the issue. The Congress party has even given an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha. This was despite the fact that EAM S. Jaishankar had refuted Trump’s claims in the strongest of words.
Ever since Trump made the comments, there has been a systematic attempt to insinuate that Narendra Modi did make the request as Trump alleged. Numerous journalists and politicians jumped on the Trump bandwagon to take potshots at the Modi government and the Prime Minister himself.
The only person from the opposition who has come out looking good in all of this is senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. While other prominent members of his party are busy raising slogans inside the Parliament, submitting adjournment motions and questioning the integrity of the Prime Minister, Tharoor stated clearly that it was impossible that Modi would ask the US to interfere in Kashmir. He further said that Trump had either not understood what Modi was saying or he had not been briefed in the matter.
Perhaps, Rahul Gandhi ought to listen to Tharoor more than his current advisers. 12 hours after the comments of US president were denied by MEA spokesperson, Rahul Gandhi awakened to the controversy and claimed that if true, Narendra Modi had compromised India’s national interests and violated the 1972 Shimla Agreement. He further asserted that a “weak Foreign Ministry denial” isn’t sufficient, the Prime Minister himself must issue a statement on the matter.
Given the nature of Rahul Gandhi’s comments and the conduct of the Congress party on the matter, it certainly appears that although he is no longer the president of the party, the members are still taking cues from his on how to go about their daily business.