Jammu, Sep 10: Senior Congress leader and its former president Rahul Gandhi on Friday, while counting himself as “one among the Kashmiri Pandits”, described J&K as his “home” and sought restoration of its statehood.
He was addressing the party delegates on the second day of his 2-day tour to Jammu. He used the occasion to share his “Dil Ki Baat” and flaunt his ‘Kashmiri Pandit’ lineage to win over the migrant community as well as to demonstrate his J&K roots.
“This morning Kashmiri Pandits’ delegation came to me. They told me Congress government did a lot for us and promised to give us compensation. But BJP gave a fake assurance to us. They promised to give Rs 25 lakhs as compensation but gave nothing. While talking to them, it occurred to me that I was and am still part of this delegation, this community. My family is also Kashmiri Pandit. I never tell a lie. I promise to my Kashmiri Pandit brothers that I’ll live up to their expectations,” he said.
As Rahul began his address chanting “Jai Mata Di”, he struck the right chord with the party workers from Jammu region and then he continued his momentum.
Rahul pointed out that within a short span of one month he twice visited J&K, where he always felt ‘at home.’
“Soon I wish to visit Ladakh also. Last time I asserted in Srinagar that whenever I visited J&K, I felt as I arrived at my home. I want to reiterate it here too. Yesterday I had gone to pay obeisance to Mata Vaishnodeviji and I was overpowered by similar ‘I’m home’ emotion. Hence I feel sad that the composite culture of this erstwhile state, presently a Union Territory and the feeling of communal harmony and brotherhood existing among its natives are being eroded and damaged by BJP and RSS people,” Rahul said.
“This is weakening J&K and its people. This is evident that it has hurt and is still hurting your economy, tourism and business. What they did to you. They cheated you. They first destroyed your composite culture, damaged your interests, weakened you and then stripped you of your statehood. This is your right. You should get it back,” he averred.
Former Congress president accused the BJP-led government, which, according to him, “took pride in flaunting its image as the only guardian of Hinduism and its believers”, of exploiting the religion to serve its own interests yet damaging the cause of country.
He referred to three incarnations of Goddess at the holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi to slam its political opponents. Rahul said, “There are three symbols viz., Durga, who incarnates the power to protect, Lakshmi, who symbolises the power which helps us to reach our destination and attain our goal and Saraswati is an embodiment of the power which helps us to acquire knowledge. This trinity of power together propels a home or a nation to progress.”
“However, the acts of demonetisation, GST implementation eroded the power of Mother Lakshmi. New laws for farmers weakened the power of Mother Durga as they hurt their (farmers’) interests. Similarly by putting RSS men at the helm of affairs in educational institutions of India, they weakened the power of Mother Saraswati. What is this happening?” he targetted his bête-noir, without naming.
Rephrasing his assertion, Rahul said, “Contrarily, when Congress implemented MGNREGA, gave country 9 percent GDP growth rate, it added to the powers of trinity. What is this happening? Those, who flaunt themselves as “Hindus” and visit Vaishnodevi to pay obeisance there; they show disrespect to those Shaktis. They project themselves as religious persons still suppress the sanctity of those “Shaktis” which they worship. Similarly, the stripping of J&K’s statehood also weakened these powers. You should pose these questions to BJP people.”
Earlier at the very outset, he took a dig at media stating that though he addressed them as “friends” yet their acts were not “friendly towards him.” “I would rephrase my assertion. They (media-persons) actually acted as their (ruling clique’s) friends and not as our (Congress’) friends,” he mocked.
Rahul also sought to give a new meaning to Congress’ symbol “Hand” by saying, “The symbol, which is familiar to all religions actually did not mean “Ashirwad” (blessings). It means – ‘Daro Mat’ (Don’t get scared). Don’t fear truth. It (truth), however, scares BJP away. Whatever Congress could do in the interest of country or J&K, it could do with the power of its activists. Thus only your power can revive Congress and bring it back to power. The day Congress workers will get reassured that their voice is heard, Congress will be back to power with 450 seats.”
AICC J&K incharge Rajni Patil, former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, JKPCC president G A Mir, former ministers Tara Chand, Tariq Hameed Qarra, Raman Bhalla, Mula Ram, Abdul Majeed Wani, Vikar Rasool, G M Saroori, Ravinder Sharma and Neeraj Kundan shared the dais with him.