The war of words between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik continued on Wednesday as Gandhi accepted Malik’s invitation to visit the state without any condition.
“Dear Maalik ji, I saw your feeble reply to my tweet,” Gandhi tweeted. “I accept your invitation to visit Jammu and Kashmir and meet the people, with no conditions attached. When can I come?”
The Wayanad MP’s response came a day after the governor said he had never invited him with “so many pre-conditions”, and referred the matter to the local police and administration for examination. He also accused him of trying to “create unrest” by seeking to bring along a delegation of Opposition leaders.
On Monday, Malik had said he would send a plane to Gandhi so that he could visit the state instead of making “irresponsible” claims about violence in the state following the Centre’s decision to end its special status. However, the Congress leader declined his offer of an aircraft and instead asked for the “freedom to travel and meet the people”.
On Saturday, the Congress MP had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assuage people’s concerns following the reports of violence. Malik took objection to this statement and accused the former Congress president of “responding to fake news possibly spread from across the border”.
Governor’s invitation was not sincere: Chidambaram
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram criticised Malik and claimed his invitation to the former Congress president to visit the state was a “tool of propaganda”.
“To say that Rahul Gandhi put conditions is rubbish,” tweeted the former Union finance minister. “Rahul Gandhi asked for freedom to meet everyone, including soldiers. How is that putting conditions?”
In a series of tweets, Chidamabaram asked: “Can a visitor not ask for freedom to meet different sections of the people and to enquire about the welfare of the soldiers?”
Jammu and Kashmir has been under a security lockdown since August 5, when the Centre abolished its special status and bifurcated it into Union Territories.
Several Opposition leaders attempting to visit the state have been detained or sent back from Srinagar airport. On Friday, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India leader D Raja were not allowed to enter the state.
The day before, senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad was stopped at the airport.