Jammu, Jan 20: All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh Friday stated that the present ruling dispensation before targetting Congress for its ties with PAGD constituents should come clear on its alliances with NC and PDP in the past.
He stated this while responding to a query about BJP’s dig at Congress hobnobbing with People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration constituents, mainly National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) despite their ideological differences on majority of the issues.
BJP mocks at Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra by describing it as ‘Bharat Todo Yatra’ for its leaders sharing stage with those who question “the sovereignty and integrity of the country.”
“Then ask them who had an alliance with the National Conference in the past and how their Ram Madhav drafted the agenda of alliance with Dr Haseeb Drabu (then part of PDP),” Ramesh retorted. When asked about Congress’ stance about Dr Farooq Abdullah’s demand for talks with Pakistan, he said that the talks (with Pakistan) could not happen until the cessation of cross-border terrorism had been the official policy of all governments ruling at the Centre.
“However, Congress is questioning how it is happening in the case of China, which has encroached upon our areas. Trade is going on as usual with it though registering an all time high trade deficit,” he mocked.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, AICC incharge J&K affairs Rajni Patil, AICC spokesperson Meem Afzal, JKPCC president Vikar Rasool and UT’s chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma besides others shared the dais with him during the presser.
“In all diplomatic relations, dialogue has been an option, however when to use and when not to, depends on the situation prevailing that time. Dr Farooq Abdullah reserves a right to have an opinion which he has spelt out,” Digvijay too joined the cause on this issue. Discomfiture was too visible when some scribes questioned the role of Congress in eroding autonomy in J&K and its deteriorating situation.
Irked over a related query, Jairam Ramesh said, “Please stay focussed on Bharat Jodo Yatra and not the political history of J&K. We can have a separate discussion on that later on. Presently you should only be worried about three issues i.e., economic inequalities, social polarisation and political dictatorship - all creations of the present ruling dispensation.”
Ramesh informed that in Srinagar, Rahul would unfurl tricolour at PCC office situated at Lal Chowk. “For the final function (rally) Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has sent invites to the presidents of 23 national political parties. The final list of participants will be shared later,” he said.
Confronted with a query as this afternoon Rahul Gandhi flew back to the Union capital after traversing distance from Hatli Morh to Chadwal, Ramesh said, “During Yatra, a break period is given to Bharat Yatris. This schedule spelling out a break for one-and-a-half-day was already in the public domain. Hence that period has been used to fly back. I’m even flying back to the union capital this evening. But this is not true that Yatra has been suspended due to inclement weather conditions. We have followed our schedule.”
With regard to Congress’ apathetic attitude towards Kashmiri Pandits as its leaders were sharing stage with those leaders, including Dr Farooq Abdullah, who would scoff at their tragedies and refuse to acknowledge their “genocide”, Digvijay Singh said, “One should not forget as to who was the Prime Minister and who was ruling at the Centre when it happened, Congress has always been very supportive and sympathric to both Hindus and Muslims and want them to be together. And with this message, we have embarked on this Yatra.”
To another related query, Ravinder Sharma said that Congress was sympathetic to their cause and their sufferings after they had to migrate in the nineties following selective killings. “But previous Congress regimes ensured that the PM package, employees and reserved category employees could work in the Valley without any fear. But now we are concerned that despite the rhetoric of normalcy restoration, targetted killings have been taking place there. Due to this reason, the employees are on roads protesting and seeking relocation. We sympathize with their cause,” he said. .
Congress leaders chose to evade the direct query as to why Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan chairperson Chowdhary Lal Singh, who was invited to receive and be part of Yatra, was not allowed to share the stage. “He showed a goodwill gesture expressing his desire to welcome and join Yatra. And we welcome him,” JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
Earlier, giving a brief account of Yatra and its purpose, AICC general secretary said that senior leader Digvijsy Singh was the chairperson of the planning committee of Yatra, which was conceptualised during the party’s Udaipur convention.