New Delhi, Oct 26 In an embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party, party member in the Rajya Sabha Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday (Oct 26, 2010) differed from the party line and backed the interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir, terming its accusations that the panel was internationalising the Kashmir issue “childish and churlish”.
But the BJP quickly distanced itself from the eminent lawyer's views, saying that it did not “subscribe” to the remarks. “Jethmalani is Jethmalani. He has his own opinion. The party does not subscribe to it... We have already expressed our official line,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
Unfazed by his party dissociating itself from his views, the former Union Law Minister stood by his remarks: “I am not bound by anything, which every BJP member says… My views are absolutely in consonance with national interest,” he said on Monday night.
Mr. Jethmalani said he saw nothing wrong in the remarks of Dilip Padgaonkar, heading the three-member team, that there was a Pakistan “dimension” to the Kashmir problem. “It is childish and churlish to attack them as ‘internationalising the issue'. [Former] Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, by his confabulations with President Pervez Musharraf, and Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, with his recent talks with his counterpart, Mr. [Shah Mehmood] Qureshi, were doing exactly that,” he said. “Dialogue with Pakistan is a compulsory legacy of the Simla Agreement of 1972. We cannot wish it out of existence,” he added.
Stating that the team's task of finding a “peaceful and lasting solution” to the Kashmir problem was “almost superhuman,” Mr. Jethmalani said he “fervently” prayed for their success, despite having “serious misgivings.”
When told that the BJP did not agree with his views, Mr. Jethmalani said one should “leave aside the BJP.” “The BJP has not done much thinking on this issue... We should not pay much attention to it.”