Rahul sheds conditions; asks 'Maalik' on J&K visit

As the Governor and Rahul exchanged barbs, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram hit out at J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik for his U-turn on the invite to Rahul (PTI Photo)

The tug-of-war between Rahul Gandhi and J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik continued on Wednesday with the Congress leader expressing readiness to visit the state “with no conditions attached”.

Rahul's sharp retort at the Governor came when the latter accused him of trying to create unrest in the Kashmir valley by seeking to bring a delegation of opposition leaders amid the ongoing lockdown after the Centre stripped the state of its special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.

“Dear Maalik ji, I saw your feeble reply to my tweet. I accept your invitation to visit Jammu & Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached. When can I come,” Rahul asked on Twitter, in an apparent jibe at the Governor by misspelling his surname as 'Maalik' (master)

Malik had extended an invite to Rahul to visit the Kashmir valley after he had said August 10 that he had received reports of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The Governor had dismissed the claims as “fake news”.

As the Governor and Rahul exchanged barbs, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram hit out at J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik for his U-turn on the invite to Rahul.

“J&K Governor's invitation to Rahul Gandhi was never a sincere invitation. It was a tool of propaganda,” Chidambaram said.

The former Home Minister said that Malik's claims that Rahul had put conditions for the Kashmir visit was “rubbish.”

“Rahul Gandhi asked for freedom to meet everyone, including soldiers. How is that putting conditions,” Chidambaram asked.
“Can a visitor not ask for freedom to meet different sections of the people and to enquire about the welfare of the soldiers,” Chidambaram said.

On Tuesday, when Rahul sought to bring along a delegation of political leaders along with him to visit J&K and Ladakh, the Governor had accused him of politicising the issue and trying to “create unrest and problems for the common people.”

The Governor had said he had never invited the Congress leader with “so many pre-conditions” and had referred the matter to the local police and administration for further examination.

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