Congress, TMC & CPI raise Kashmir mediation issue in Parliament

Lok Sabha today witnessed an uproar over US President Donald Trump’s remarks on Kashmir mediation, with Congress demanding a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

As soon as the Lower House met for the day, members from the Congress and some other Opposition parties were on their feet shouting slogans over the issue. Trump had on Monday claimed that Prime Minister Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir.

Amid the ruckus in the House, Speaker Om Birla said it was a serious issue and there should not be any politics over the matter. He urged members to rise above party lines and think about national interest.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said Opposition members were trying to belittle the image of the country, which is “highly unfair and uncalled for”. Later, the Speaker said the issue can be discussed during the Zero Hour and the Question Hour was taken up after normalcy returned.

Congress members were heard shouting ‘we want an answer’ and the party’s leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the prime minister should give an answer. Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were present in the House.

Rajya Sabha too witnessed an uproar over US President Donald Trump’s remarks on Kashmir mediation. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated in the Rajya Sabha that no such request was ever made.

“It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism,” the Minister said. Jaishankar categorically denied Trump’s claim and assured the House that no such request was made by PM Modi.

The main opposition Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI) reacted sharply to the US President’s claim demanding an explanation from the Prime Minister on the issue. “The entire country was shocked last night to hear US President Donald Trump tell Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that, at the G20 Summit held recently in Osaka, the Prime Minister of India had requested him to mediate on Kashmir,” said Congress leader Anand Sharma.

As Vice President Venkaiah Naidu moved to other Zero Hour mentions, Derek O’Brien of the TMC protested vigorously, saying the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad too was not given an opportunity to seek a clarification. Naidu shot back, asking if he was questioning the chair. As O’Brien continued to protest, Naidu ordered that nothing will go on record. “This is not fair,” he remarked as the angry exchange continued.

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