Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said he “deferred” to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, even as he believed that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah needed “some time and support” to tackle a “tough and sensitive job.”
“I defer to the Prime Minister on this [AFSPA] Act, as he is well informed of the details and is in the best position to make a decision….Omar is a youngster, and I think he is doing a tough job in Kashmir where the situation is difficult,” he said. It would be “wrong” to take a position on the Act “without being there.”
Mr. Gandhi was addressing a press conference here on the final day of this three-day visit to West Bengal.
Asked whether he saw a role for himself in easing the situation in Kashmir, given the involvement of youth in the ongoing protests, he said: “Everybody offers me a new job every day, but there are many able people who can do the job.”
“A full-time problem”
“Kashmir is not a part-time problem that I can get involved in… It is a full-time problem, but the most important thing is to bring the youth into the political system. There are complex problems in politics, and I need to be much more integrated into Kashmir.”
Mr. Gandhi said his aim was to “bring youngsters into politics,” and he did not like “moving from one problem to another.”
“The government has supported Omar Abdullah who is an elected leader of the National Conference with whom we are in partnership with,” he said.
As for the drive launched by him to engage youth in the political process for “changing the politics in the country,” he said the drive was “going to every part of India.” “It is going to Jammu and Kashmir; I will go to the State.”