Veteran Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad today praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “being connected to the roots” and “being truthful to what he was”.
Azad said that he admires leaders who never hide the truth about themselves like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I like many things and many leaders. I also belong to a village and feel proud of it. I am also proud of some senior leaders like our Prime Minister Narendra Modi who used to sell tea and comes from village,” Azad said while addressed a gathering at Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust, Channi Himmat.
He said: “Even as we are political rivals, but I appreciate him (Modi) that he did not hide the truth about himself. However, those who hide facts about themselves live in bubble. We should be proud (of who he is and where he comes from).”
“Though I have traveled the world and stayed in five star and seven star hotels, but still when I sit with the people of my village, it has a different fragrance which makes me feel special,” said Azad while praising the leaders connected to the roots.
Azad also inaugurated a hall which was named after the first Gujjar journalist and reformer popularly known as Choudhary Sarwari Kassana. His original name was Choudhary Fateh Ali Kassana.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Trust, Abdul Hamid Choudhary on behalf of Patron-in-Chief, Choudhary Masood Choudhary presented the ‘Shahan-e-Gurjar’ award to Azad.
On the sideline of the function, Azad said that development has come to standstill and taxes have increased 110 percent in J&K whereas the unemployment has increased sharply. “We used to do work in triple shifts. Unfortunately, it is not even going on in half-shift. I would appeal to the government of India that work should happen on the ground,” he said.
Azad said that he has raised the issues including restoration of statehood to J&K, development, education system, industrial sector, tremendous increase in unemployment, establishment of Toll Taxes (Plazas), and Property Tax being implemented.
He said: “Taxes should be as per the income. But the income of J&K has reduced to zero whereas taxes have reached 110%. There is complete mismatch between the two.”
“Firstly, we have to correct economic condition of J&K, and double-triple the developmental activities; Delhi should send three to four times more funds to J&K,” he demanded, while asserting that during his time “besides budget, we used to get additional funds which used to be utilized in developmental works.”
He said: “We have not seen any development on the ground in Jammu. I visited lanes and roads during my visits. The roads were in the worst condition. The industries have closed and the same is the condition in all over J&K. The development is mere on papers, not on the ground.”
“Yesterday’s function was only 10%, and 90% function is still pending,” Azad responded to journalists when asked about Group-23 Congress leaders function which has triggered speculation about groupism in Pradesh Congress Committee.
On downgrading of J&K from a state to Union Territory, Azad said: “It was like a Director General of Police (DGP) was demoted to constable.”