Soz termed Nehru and Patel "great sons of India" and said Patel, "in good faith, offered Kashmir to Liaquat Ali Khan”, Pakistan's first Prime Minister.
Already in the thick of controversy over his statement on the Kashmir issue, veteran Congress leader Saifuddin Soz has now claimed that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was willing to give the Kashmir Valley to Pakistan in exchange of Hyderabad, while former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was keen on keeping Kashmir with India. The remarks by Soz came while launching his book titled ‘Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle’. The Congress has already rejected the claims made by Soz. “It is my book and I am responsible… party should have no difficulty.”
Soz termed Nehru and Patel “great sons of India” and said Patel, “in good faith, offered Kashmir to Liaquat Ali Khan”, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister. He claimed that Patel in the partition council told Khan, “Don’t talk of Hyderabad-Deccan… is it connected to Pakistan by road or by sea….what is your claim there? You cannot have it”. Eminent journalist Kuldip Nayyar, who was press officer to former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, said that after the 1962 India-China war, Shastri had said: “If Pakistan had come to our help to support…unke sipaiyon ka khoon aur hamare sipaiyon ka khoon behta, baad main agar Pakistan Kashmir mangta toh na karna muskhil hota.” (If their soldiers and ours bled in the war and later Pakistan asked for Kashmir, it would have been difficult to say no)”.
The remarks came at an event that saw top party leaders abstain after Congress asked its leaders not to attend the event. Former Union minister P Chidambaram was to release the book but obeyed the party’s decision. However, former Union minister Jairam Ramesh attended the event. Soz’s comments came days after claiming that people of Kashmir prefer “independence” and pitched for dialogue between the central government and the Hurriyat Conference. He also made a startling claim that successive central governments since 1953 has alienated Kashmiris from India’s heartland and committed “blunders”.
Former Union minister Arun Shourie asked everyone to shed the baggage of history and look for solutions to the Kashmir issue even as he flayed the incumbent BJP government. Shourie hit out at the BJP government, saying it has no policy with regard to Pakistan or China or banks. He claimed the BJP government has only “event-oriented and election-oriented approach and termed it a “one-trick horse”. “It only knows one trick, which is to divide the Hindus and Muslims…,” he said.