Sonia draws party line on Trump's Kashmir remarks

Gandhi pulled out what appeared to be a transcript of Trump's comment -- that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate in resolving the Kashmir issue -- from the folder when Congress MP Manish Tewari was speaking.

Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday drew the party line over US President Donald Trump's controversial remarks on Kashmir as some party leaders appeared to go soft on the Modi government.

At the weekly meeting of Congress' Lok Sabha members, a section of the leaders pointed out to Gandhi that the External Affairs Ministry had rejected Trump's remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to play the role of a mediator on the Kashmir issue.

“I honestly don't think Trump has the slightest idea of what he's talking about. He has either not been briefed or not understood what Modi was saying or what India's position is on 3rd-party mediation. That said, MEA should clarify that Delhi has never sought his intercession,” senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said on Twitter on Monday night.

Tharoor's remarks appeared divergent to the strong stand taken by the Congress asking the Prime Minister to clarify what exactly transpired between him and Trump during their meeting in Osaka.

“A weak Foreign Ministry denial won’t do. The PM must tell the nation what transpired in the meeting between him & @POTUS,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is on a visit abroad, said on Twitter.

At the meeting, Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the Congress Party in Parliament, made it clear that Modi had to be pinned down on the sensitive issue and asked Lok Sabha floor leaders to reach out to like-minded political parties to back the move.

Sonia directed former Union minister Manish Tewari to lead the Congress charge in the Lok Sabha and finalise plans to lead an opposition walkout.

Later, Tharoor clarified that he had never said that Modi need not explain himself to Parliament. “On the contrary, while I'm prepared to believe it's impossible our PM could say this, he needs to clarify it himself in Parliament, since Trump cited him personally,” Tharoor said.

In the Lok Sabha, Sonia could be seen handing over a transcript of Trump's remarks to Tewari who rose to put across the Congress view on the issue.

Tewari's demand for a response from the Prime Minister was supported by Saugata Roy of the Trinamool and T R Baalu of DMK.

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