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Opposition seeks PM's reply on Trump's claim, stages walkout in LS

Tuesday - July 23, 2019 2:26 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The opposition staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha when its demand seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reply on US President Donald Trump's claim that Modi had asked him to meditate in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan during the recently concluded G-20 summit in Osaka was not met by the government.
 
Raising the issue for the second time in the Lower House during Zero Hour, Congress MP Manish Tewari sought Modi's reply on this issue and asked whether the Prime Minister had made any request to Trump at the G-20 summit. Tewari said if this was the case then, "it is a very big stroke on India's unity and sovereignty".
 
Citing articles published in newspapers, Tewari said the government should clarify on the US President's claims that Modi in Osaka asked him "why don't you mediate in Kashmir? Why don't you become an arbitrator in Kashmir?".
 
"We demand that Prime Minister Modi should come to the House and reply if such talk happened between him and Trump. If such talks did not happen between the two leaders, he (Modi) should clearly say that US President is making wrong statement on the Kashmir issue. There should be a clear statement from government and the Prime Minister," Tewari said.
 
Trinamol Congress leader Saugata Roy also sought the Prime Minister's reply on the issue, calling it a "highly sensitive" matter. "This is in contravention of all past positions held by India that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and any bilateral issue with Pakistan would not invite third party mediation and that Kashmir is an integral part of India," Roy said.
 
Roy said, "the Prime Minister has violated the basic thing and compromised the territorial integrity of India and that is why he would not like External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to reply on the matter as he is a professional diplomat and would say high sounding phrases".
 
"I want direct reply from Prime Minister," Roy said.
 
As the opposition's demand was not heeded and Jaishankar stood up to speak on the issue, the House witnessed an uproar.
 
Amid the din, the Minister read out a statement rejecting Trump's claim and said that "no such request was ever made".
 
But the opposition, including the Congress, TMC, DMK and NCP, did not pay heed to the government's statement and trooped out of the House.
 

--IANS rak/dpb/bg