Miffed with ruling alliance, ex-PDP MP Tariq Karra joins Congress

New Delhi, (IANS): Five months after he quit Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Tariq Hameed Karra on Saturday joined the Congress. He attacked the central government for “mishandling” the situation in the state and vowed to fight “fascist forces” and the “RSS menace”.

Karra slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for “politicising” the army.

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Karra said: “When we floated PDP in 1999, our basic declaration was against fascist forces and how we should take the state out of slumber.”

“But after the 2014 assembly elections, the PDP, which had sought votes against (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s polarization politics, joined hands with him,” he said.

“That decision forced me to distance myself from the party,” Karra said.

He also said that he tried to distance himself from the PDP even when the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was Chief Minister. “I had started giving them warnings and suggestions,” he said.

“I had told them it is not in the interest of the state and Indian polity that we give space to such people and such parties who have been engaged, since pre-Independence, in putting the social fabric of the country into jeopardy,” he said.

While accusing the central government of mishandling the situation in the valley last year, Karra said: “When the 2016 unrest started BJP-PDP in connivance mishandled the situation and people of the state.”

“They jailed people, they killed people and even blinded the children,” he alleged.

“Thus my conscious did not allow me to remain in the PDP and I resigned,” he said.

Karra resigned from the party on September 16, 2016.

He said he was “quite happy and elated” after learning of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s ideas of bringing out Jammu and Kashmir from “slumber”.

He vowed to fight “fascist forces” and the “RSS menace” from the state and elsewhere in the country, which he said has “created divisions” in society.

He also said that Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks were “politically motivated”. “The force is to save the sovereignty of the country, and politicising the army is very unfortunate.”

Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Karra said: “With full respect to the highest chair of Prime Minister and Prime Minister’s Office, a small man is sitting on a big chair.”

In another development, Congress leader Ambika Soni attacked Minister of State Jitendra Singh for “politicisng” the remarks of the Army chief and said, “He politicised the issue.”

“If they were so much concerned about the army, then they should tell why the retired army personnel are sitting on hunger strike for the last two years over the One Rank One Pension issue?” she asked.