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The Jammu and Kashmir BJP today termed as a "political gimmick" the maiden visit of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led policy and planning group to the state and asked the Congress party to play a "positive role" for the interest of the state and the country. The Congress panel arrived on a two-day visit here yesterday, nearly five months after its formation. The panel met the party leadership and over 30 delegations representing a cross section of the society, besides representatives of National Conference, CPI(M) and other mainstream opposition parties. "Even though it (Congress) thinks its fundamental right is to criticise the Centre for its policies regarding Jammu and Kashmir, the team and any of its central leader did not bother to take stock of the situation," state BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta said. He said the group did not think to provide its "valuable suggestion" to the government in "retrieving the situation". "Instead of playing political gimmick, it should play a positive role for the interest of the state and the country," Gupta said. He questioned the seriousness of the planning group, saying, "it did not feel its concern about the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the last five months". Blaming the Congress for the present situation in the state, Gupta said the party had kept the Jammu and Kashmir issue "alive and burning" because of its "wrong policies since the accession of the state with India". "It remained in power both at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir for the most of the times, it was in power in the state in 1990 when situation in the valley had taken an ugly turn when Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities suffered a mass exodus," Gupta said. "It was in power from 2002 to 2014 in state and also at the Centre before 2014 for 10 year but it failed to resolve the issue," the BJP leader said. Gupta asked the Congress party to clear its stand on Article 35A and said the party is a "divided house" on the issue. "Kashmir leadership of the party supports 35A whereas its leaders in Jammu province oppose continuation of 35A and Article 370 in Indian Constitution, however, the leadership at the Centre is confusing the people by speaking in different tones on the issue," he said in a statement. Gupta said the Congress should clear its stand on West Pakistan Refugees and on deporting of Rohingyas in Jammu province instead of beating about the bush. "Congress party needs also to clear its stand on the statements issued by some of its leaders on the Kashmir issue, who are supporting Azadi (freedom) and autonomy for the valley, which include Mani Shankar Ayyar and even P Chidambaram who was part of the visiting team," Gupta said. Reacting to the statement of senior Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad who said the PDP-BJP government and NDA-led Centre had taken the state back to 1990s when the law and order situation was at its worst, Gupta reminded Azad of the situation in 2008 when he was the Chief Minister and of 2010 when Congress was sharing power with National Conference.
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