Jaitley talks Kashmir in Himachal

Election mode: Arun Jaitley after releasing a vision document for Himachal Pradesh in Shimla on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

Attacking former Home Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram’s pitch for greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday that poll-bound Himachal Pradesh was a patriotic State, sending large numbers of people to the Army.

He said no one should think this line of a senior Congress leader would not be a matter of concern here.

“The people of Himachal Pradesh go into the Army. They are a patriotic people,” he said, questioning the Congress’s understanding of autonomy.

He attacked the Congress government in the State for asking for a lower exemption limit of ₹10-lakh turnover on the Goods and Service Tax, saying it was demanded by Himachal Pradesh and not imposed by the GST Council.

Flanked by former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union Minister J.P. Nadda, Mr. Jaitley released the BJP’s vision document for the Assembly elections in the State.

“Defence, currency, foreign affairs, telecommunication are just four or five issues in Jammu and Kashmir that are with the Centre. The rest are with the Legislative Assembly there and the State government. What else can be given in the name of autonomy,” the Minister asked.

Autonomy issue

“Those who talk about autonomy talk about the pre-1953 status which means that there should be a Prime Minister there rather than a Chief Minister; a Sadr-e-Riyasat rather than a Governor.”

Mr. Jaitley refused to commit on whether the party would announce its chief ministerial candidate for the elections, saying this was not a crucial point.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:07:05 PM |

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