PDP co-founder joins Congress

PDP co-founder joins Congress
Five months after quitting the PDP, its co-founder Tariq Hameed Karra on Saturday joined the Congress, and hit out at Narendra Modi for not upholding the “dignity” of the prime minister’s chair.

In a rare gesture, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi welcomed Karra into the party at the AICC headquarters here after the Kashmiri leader met party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Karra, who had defeated former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah from the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in 2014, also hit out at the ruling PDP-BJP government for behaving like “toddlers and novices”, while blasting them for the “wrong handling” of the situation in the state.

On his first day in the Congress, Karra appeared to tread a minefield when he termed Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s statement warning tough action against those supporting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir “unfortunate”. However, he soon clarified that he meant the BJP’s attempts to politicise the army chief’s statement was unfortunate.

“I linked the army chief’s statement with Modi, who is exploiting the same thing. He (Modi) and his ministers are politicising (it) for the sake of the party. Unfortunately, for our prime minister the party is paramount and not national interest,” he said.

Karra (61) is expected to help Rahul put together a group of eminent persons in Jammu and Kashmir, which could help reverse the sense of alienation among the people of the state.

During his discussions with Sonia, Karra is known to have impressed upon her the urgent need to occupy the grey zone between the positions taken by the “ultra-nationalists” and “ultra-separatists” in Kashmir.

“This grey zone was occupied by the PDP, but the alliance with the BJP has left a void. The Congress has occupied that space, but it needs to be strengthened,” Karra said.
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