BJP, RSS trying to damage composite culture of J&K: Rahul

AICC leader Rahul Gandhi along with Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior leaders in Jammu on Friday.
AICC leader Rahul Gandhi along with Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior leaders in Jammu on Friday.

‘I feel like coming home in Jammu-Kashmir’
* Restoration of Statehood popular demand: Azad
Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Sept 10: Former All India Congress Committee (AICC) president, Rahul Gandhi today accused the RSS and BJP of trying to damage the composite culture of Jammu and Kashmir.
While addressing a large party function in Gandhi Nagar constituency of Jammu today, Rahul said, “ I have seen the feeling of love, brotherhood and composite culture existing among you all. I feel sad that the RSS and BJP are trying to severely damage this culture of co-existence in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“Both RSS and BJP attack the love and brotherhood. You turned weak and as result, they snatched away your Statehood,” Rahul added.
The Congress leader exhorted the gathering to chant ‘Jai Mata Di’, a day after he paid obeisance at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra.
“I went to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine on Thursday. There are three symbols of Mata (Pindis) – Mata Durga, Mata Lakshmi and Mata Saraswati,” Gandhi said.
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Goddess Durga protects us, Lakshmi is a symbol of power and Saraswati symbolises education and knowledge, he said.
“When these three ‘Shaktis’ (powers) are in your home and country, your home and country will make progress,” he said.
However, the BJP Government’s policies like demonetisation and GST have weakened these powers, he said.
Whereas, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the GDP with a growth rate of 9 per cent under the Congress had increased their powers, he added.
Pointing towards his hand, Gandhi co-related the Congress election symbol with Lord Shiva and Guru Nanak Dev’s hand, and said it was the symbol of being fearless.
“This hand is the symbol that you should not be afraid of anything and any one,” Gandhi said, adding that the “BJP leaders are scared of facing truth.”
Tracing the roots of his family to Jammu and Kashmir, Rahul said that whenever he visits here, he feels like coming home. He said that his family has a bond with Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandits and he feels the pain of displaced people and realizes need to do a lot more to ameliorate the sufferings of displaced community.
Referring to the downgrading of the historical State of Jammu and Kashmir into UT and the need to restore Statehood at the earliest, he said that the BJP Government has given one after another blow to the people and snatched their strength and deprived them of their means of livelihood. Tourism and trade has been badly affected in J&K with their wrong policies.
Giving credit to the party activists for the achievements of the Congress Party and the massive development undertaken during its regime, Gandhi said that workers are the real strength of the Congress party, who bring the party to power and empower the leadership to deliver to the needs and expectations of people.
Earlier, on his arrival Rahul Gandhi was welcomed at the stage by the PCC and DCC Jammu leaders including Raman Bhalla, Mula Ram, Yogesh Sawhney and others by presenting a big garland and wearing traditional ‘Dogra turban’.
Speaking on the occasion, former Union Minister and senior AICC leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the scrapped Darbar Move practice in J&K has badly hit the economy of Jammu.
“Sufferings of people in Jammu and Kashmir have increased manifold. Darbar Move practice was scrapped and it has badly hit the economy of Jammu, unemployment has increased and the tourism sector is facing a huge setback. People are not getting basic amenities like water and electricity,” Azad said.
He also slammed the previous BJP-PDP coalition Government of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State asserting that it failed to deliver.
“All development claims by this Government are hollow and have no base at all,” he added.
“Merely by raising large sign boards, ‘Smart Cities’ are not created at all. The BJP only believes in sloganeering while Congress has delivered on the ground. I have not seen any development anywhere in J&K in past seven years. They failed to raise even a single building or major bridge in last 7 years,” Azad said adding that during his just two and half years of tenure as CM in J&K, he created eight districts, Super Specialty Hospital, Jammu Yatri Bhawan, two more additional hospitals in Jammu, PSC building and many more.
Azad said Jammu is the best example of secularism in the country as people from Kashmir and Ladakh too, are also happily staying in Jammu. People of Jammu deserve appreciation for maintaining secular values, he said.
Referring to the degrading the historic State into UT, Azad said people of J&K have immensely suffered after August 5, 2019 decision. Restoration of Statehood to J&K is the most popular demand of the people here.
AICC leader and Incharge J&K affairs of the party, Rajni Patil, JKPCC president Ghulam Ahmed Mir, CWC member and former MP Tariq Hamid Karra, former DyCM Tara Chand, vice presidents and former Ministers Mula Ram, Raman Bhalla and GM Saroori, IYC chief BV Srinivas, National president NSUI Neeraj Kundan, ex-MLA Th Balwan Singh and Ravinder Sharma, chief spokesperson also addressed the large gathering.
Rahul Gandhi, after addressing rally and holding brief meeting of senior party leaders over a lunch at a local hotel here, left for Union capital in a 3.30 pm flight.