NC stalled implementation of Cong agenda: Sonia

Gopal Sharma

AICC(I) president Sonia Gandhi waving to public during election rally in Jammu on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
AICC(I) president Sonia Gandhi waving to public during election rally in Jammu on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Dec 10: Hitting hard her coalition partner, National Conference again for becoming hurdle  for Congress Party in implementing its agenda, All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi today said that  party would constitute two separate Regional Development Councils if it comes to power in the State.
Addressing election rallies at M A Stadium in Jammu and Shangus in Kashmir today, the AICC president said Congress Party framed Government in alliance with National Conference in J&K with the purpose to keep communal and divisive forces away. She said running ‘coalition’ is not so easy rather it is compulsion. Congress being in coalition wanted to implement its agenda whether it is  strengthening of  Panchayati Raj system, holding BDC elections or  implementation of  Food Security Bill,  but due to lack of support from the alliance partner, those promises could not be fulfilled.
Mrs Gandhi, who was accompanied by AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and PCC president Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, said that Congress Party would fulfill all its pending promises  and provide two separate Regional Councils for better development and  meeting aspirations of the people of both the regions, if it comes to power in the State.
“We could not succeed for long in resolving the issue of  PoK refugees. Our party Ministers and leaders exerted pressure on the coalition partner and later managed to convince allies in recommending one time package to the Centre for the comprehensive settlement of the refugees. But unfortunately, the Modi Government rejected the proposal and returned it to the State. They claim themselves the sole well wishers of the refugees but their double speak has been exposed before the public. Congress would continue its struggle to provide justice to the PoK, Chhamb and West Pakistan refugees,” Mrs Gandhi maintained.
Congress president launched scathing attack on Narendra Modi Government for not taking any action against its minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti for her objectionable comments and alleged that it has no respect for democracy and was working to divide people on communal lines.
“They (BJP) want people to fight on the name of religion. BJP has no respect for secularism and democracy. Their Sadhus and Sadhvis are dividing the society by using objectionable language against a particular community,” she alleged.
Mrs Gandhi said that her party was committed for the “one time resettlement” of the refugees and the party was also working to give plots of land to border residents.
“We are committed to provide an honourable living condition to the Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants. We will work for the weaker section of the society, Dalits, minorities, women and children. We will work for the women  empowerment,” she maintained.
She accused the Centre of increasing corruption in the country by diluting the Right to Information Act.
“To fight corruption, Congress gave common men a tool in the form of Right to Information Act. The Act was meant to check and stop corruption, however, since coming to power the BJP Government is weakening the Act to benefit the corrupt and increase the corruption in the country.”
Mrs Gandhi alleged that the BJP was luring the voters by making promises that they will never fulfill after coming to power in the State.
“They make big promises which they don’t fulfill. Before elections they show green pastures to the people but when they come to power, they forget all those promises,” Mrs Gandhi added.
The AICC  leader said that ‘Achhe Din’ (good days) promised by the BJP before coming to the power were still awaited.    “They always take a U-turn on their promises. They had promised to bring back the black money in 100 days and deposit Rs 15 lakh each in the account of every citizen, but now after six months  they are not even disclosing the names of the people who hold black money in foreign banks ,” she said.
Terming the Modi-led Government of being “anti poor” she said, “During the UPA Government we had made sure that the life saving drugs and other drugs meant for patients with critical illnesses are sold at a cheaper price. But to benefit the big business holders, this Government has increased the prices of those medicines.
She said that while the BJP on one hand has reduced the minimum selling price for the farmers, on the other hand it has increased the cost of seeds and fertilizers.
While expressing solidarity with the victims of border firing including security men, Mrs Gandhi said that her party understands their pains. “I am worried about the innocent people, security personnel getting killed in the firing from the Pakistani side.  We understand the pain of their families and do remember their sacrifice. This Government has failed to defuse tension and provide relief to border people,” she maintained.
Former Union Health Minister and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad while launching scathing attack on BJP said that the party which played “dirty politics” on the issue of Article 370, created hatred among the people and divided society on the communal lines from 1947 to 2014, amazingly took U-turn on its core issue and dropped from its agenda just for the sake of power. The people of Jammu region can not be made fool for long. They have now decided to show the place to this party as it stood fully exposed for its designs and double speak. Its top leaders have different speaks. They say something in Jammu, totally different in Kashmir and something else in Ladakh region, just to exploit religious sentiments. He appealed people to make all the Congress candidates winners by keeping communal forces away.
PCC president Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz targeted its alliance partner  and said that Congress has identified all the issues of the people. “It tried to resolve  some of the important issues like strengthening of  Panchayats, conduct of BDC polls, refugees issue. Being in coalition some of the issues could not be resolved as they did not allow it to happen. If voted to power, all these issues would be resolved”, Prof Soz maintained.
There was mess at the press gallery as the Congress workers had grabbed all the chairs meant for media-persons. Despite repeated requests by the Congress leaders including PCC vice president, Th Hari Singh, Balwan Singh, Mula Ram, Gulchain Singh Charak and others, the Congress workers locked horns with their leaders and refused to vacate the gallery.  The press persons had to keep standing for hours for performing their professional duty due to lack of coordination and mis-management. Many chairs kept empty at the venue as the top party leaders failed to pull much crowd for Sonia’s rally.
Addressing rally at Shangus, Mrs Gandhi targeted Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on slow pace of rehabilitation of flood victims and accused Prime Minister, Narendra  Modi, of making hollow promises.
Launching attack on Omar for slow pace of rehabilitation of  flood victims, she said relief work during the 2005 earthquake had been much faster.
“When Ghulam Nabi Azad was Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, the State witnessed an earthquake, the relief work was faster than what is being done after floods. Why is the relief work after floods slow?” asked Sonia.
The Congress president said that response of Azad led Government in 2005 was prompt to the earthquake that devastated North Kashmir.
“The response of the Congress Government was prompt and effective. During the recent floods, the Congress workers promptly came to the help of the people in villages and towns”, she said.
Seeking votes for her party Mrs Gandhi appealed the people to maintain the secular character of the State. She saluted people of the State for taking part in the polls with enthusiasm. She said it was her party that worked for the development of the State without any bias.
“Despite that the enthusiasm with which you participated in the democratic exercise I salute your determination,” she added.
“It is easy to showcase dreams, but the Congress party actually worked for the development of everyone without any kind of bias and keeping the ground realities in mind,”  she maintained.
The Congress president accused Modi of making hollow promises to the flood victims of the State. “Prime Minister came here recently and made a long list of promises. He announced some package but what is the ground reality. The reality is what you know and you are bearing the brunt of hollow promises,” she said.
Mrs Gandhi said it is not the time to play politics but to address the miseries of the flood victims. “This is the time to address your miseries. This is the time to provide you shelter, food and take care of your daily needs. But the Modi led Government is not paying any attention,” she alleged.
The Congress president said that her party did whatever it could to help you in the time of need. “Congress workers from different states came here to work with you shoulder to shoulder in order to help you. We know that you are worried about shelter, food grains, education of your children and the employment of the youth”, she added.
Congress president promised that her party, if voted to power in the State, will carry out massive developmental works. “Our promise is to give fillip to tourism, handicrafts and arts in a big way if Congress comes to power. We will also help in increasing employment avenues and also promise women empowerment through self help groups. We will implement a pension scheme for old aged and widows, “ she said.
Gandhi said Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a tremendous development under the Congress rule. “Our Government under Azad developed hospitals, roads and other infrastructure facilities besides giving fillip to tourism. We made the law and order situation better. Water and electricity supply reached far flung villages and we focused on education of children, health and sanitization the most. Our vision for Jammu and Kashmir’s development and social upliftment is clear. The developmental works are done by hard work and not through hollow promises,” she maintained.


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