‘Both parties wooing fundamentalist forces for electoral gain’
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan has said the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] have aligned themselves with divisive forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking to presspersons on Thursday, he said it was not surprising that the United Democratic Front (UDF) convener had held secret parleys with Jamaat-e-Islami Amir M.I. Abdul Aziz ahead of the local body polls in December. The CPI(M) had also attempted to woo fundamentalist forces for electoral gain.
The Central government’s abrogation of Article 370 was a watershed in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. The State was readying for district panchayat elections for the first time in its history. At a stroke, the Centre had paved the way to bring the benefits of decentralisation to Jammu and Kashmir. It had recognised the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for development, gender equality and the right to chose their local governments.
The Congress had no clear stance on Jammu and Kashmir. The national leadership of the Congress had washed their hands of such tricky political issues and left them to the decision of provincial units.
Mr. Muraleedharan said the Vienna convention prevented the Customs from questioning UAE consulate officials in connection with the gold smuggling case. However, the agency could prepare a questionnaire and sent it to their counterparts in the UAE as part of their investigation.
The Centre did not believe that contraband gold was concealed in UAE’s diplomatic baggage. Indeed, the accused had used air freight addressed to individual consulate officials and staff to smuggle gold into the country.
Mr. Muraleedharan said Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac had violated Article 293 (1) of the Constitution by allowing Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a State government entity, to issue masala bonds to borrow money from foreign markets without the consent of the Central government. He said the KIIFB was not a corporate entity as claimed by Dr. Isaac. The State government was the guarantor for the loans raised by the KIIFB.
Mr. Muraleedharan said the CPI(M) was acting against the spirit of federalism by attempting to intimidate Central law enforcement agencies investigating the various aspects of the UAE gold smuggling case. He said the agencies were not targeting the Chief Minister’s Office as alleged by the CPI(M). However, the agencies would pursue leads to their logical end.
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