IOC-UK's meet with Corbyn leaves Congress red-faced

Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo by AFP)

A meeting of the representatives of the UK chapter of the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) with Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn became a bone of contention between the BJP and the Congress as the campaign for the Maharashtra and Haryana elections picked up steam.

BJP leader Vijai Chauthaiwale seized Corbyn's claims on Twitter that he discussed the human rights situation in Kashmir with the IOC-UK delegation to hit out at the Congress, accusing it of maligning India's image on foreign shores.

“This is Congress seeking advice from UK Labour Leader. They might as well go to their masters directly in Pakistan,” Chauthaiwale, in-charge of the BJP's foreign affairs department, said referring to Corbyn's tweet.

“Appalling! Congress owes it to the people of India to explain what its leaders are telling foreign leaders about India. India will give a befitting reply to Congress for these shameful shenanigans,” the BJP tweeted at a time when the ruling party has made reading down of Article 370 an election issue in Maharashtra and Haryana.

Left red-faced by the meeting, Congress disowned the actions of the Overseas Congress making it clear that its mandate was confined to deal with matters related to the Indian diaspora.

“The IOC has neither the mandate nor the authorisation to speak on policies that pertain to India's domestic issues,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters here. He added that he would convey the Congress party's views to the Labour Party leadership.

“We refute Mr Jeremy Corbyn’s tweet. We have reiterated to him that his party must take up the issue of terrorism & terror groups with Pakistan & they should not interfere in India’s internal matters,” the IOC-UK said on its Twitter handle.

“Our meeting with Jeremy Corbyn was held to condemn the Kashmir resolution passed by his party & to reiterate that J&K is an internal matter & outside intervention will not be accepted,” IOC-UK Chairman Kamalpreet Dhaliwal said.

Corbyn had tweeted that he had a “very productive” meeting with the UK representatives of the Congress party where they discussed the “human rights situation in Kashmir”.

“There must be a de-escalation and an end to the cycle of violence and fear which has plagued the region for so long,” said Corbyn, whose Labour Party had adopted a resolution supporting the move to internationalise the Kashmir issue

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