DEHRADUN: Rahul Gandhi’s public rally in Dehradun was teeming with two elements that the BJP claims to be its own – armed forces-centric nationalism and Hinduism.
Jay Singh Rawat, a political commentator based in Dehradun, said: âUttarakhand is known as Devbhoomi (Land of the gods) and Sainya Bhoomi (Land of warriors). Congress has done its best to get the message across. ”
The âmessagingâ included priests performing rituals on stage and 1971 war veterans sharing the venue with congressional leaders.
Analyst Yogesh Kumar said Congress had a fair chance in the state due to a flowing anti-situation, mismanagement of Covid-19 and the brutal replacement of chief ministers.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the BJP government of ignoring then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s role in the 1971 war as India celebrates the 50th anniversary of the victory, which, according to him, was obtained while the country was then united.
Referring to his grandmother and the former prime minister, he said she took “32 bullets for the country”, but her name was not even mentioned at a government event in New Delhi. on the anniversary of the victory over Pakistan.
“However, it doesn’t make any difference because I know what she has done for the country by donating blood,” said the congressman as he launched his party’s campaign for the Uttarakhand Assembly elections during a rally at Parade Ground here.
He said that the credit for the victory of the 1971 war, which unfolded in just 13 days, did not go exclusively to the military, navy or political leaders of the day, but to “combat united set up by the Indians, whatever their distribution. or religious “.
Lakhs of families donated gold to the government of the day to strengthen the fight against Pakistan, he said.
âThe country spoke with one voice and the US Seventh Fleet was forced to return. Usually large-scale wars take years to conclude. But India won the 1971 war in 13 days because ‘she spoke with one voice, “he said.
The congressman said helicopters and fighters do not make a country stronger.
âA country becomes strong when its people are strong,â he said.
He added that the sacrifice defines his relationship with the state from which thousands of people die fighting on the country’s borders.
âAs thousands of families in Uttarakhand lose their loved ones fighting for the honor of the country, my family has also made sacrifices. It’s my relationship with Uttarakhand, âhe said.
The congressman said during a trip to Dehradun that he was reflecting on the type of relationship he has with Uttarakhand.
âI thought about the few years I spent here as a student at Doon School, during which I received a lot of your love.
I also remembered two dates – October 31 – when my grandmother was martyred and – May 21 – when my father was murdered.
And the word that struck me was sacrifice, âhe added.
Rahul Gandhi said he was in school when he was told his grandmother received 32 gunshot wounds.
“Such calls are received by thousands of families in Uttarakhand when their loved ones make the supreme sacrifice to protect the country,” he said.
But families who have made no sacrifice for the nation cannot feel that way, he said.
They can’t feel what it means to lose a father or an uncle, the congressional leader said.
He also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that demonetization and the GST were “the tools of the capitalists”.
âNarendra Modi is their executor,â he said, targeting the prime minister.
“Believe me, the young people of this country will not get jobs until the BJP government in New Delhi is gone,” said the leader.
Rahul Gandhi claimed that measures like the noteban and the GST were destroying small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
Regarding rising inflation, he said gasoline and diesel prices have fallen in the international market but have risen in an unprecedented way in the country due to the highest fuel tax. .
He accused the Prime Minister of taking Rs 10 lakh crore out of people’s pockets and transferring them directly into the pockets of “handpicked billionaire capitalists who are marketing”.
He said the Center’s agricultural laws were aimed “at killing the farmers and helping the capitalists.”
The former congressman also criticized the Center for not accepting that 700 farmers died during the agitation against the laws.
“The prime minister has apologized to farmers for agricultural laws which were withdrawn after continued agitation by farmers, but does not acknowledge their deaths and refuses to pay compensation,” he said.
Rahul said that if Congress were elected to power, it would protect the interests of farmers and unemployed youth.
Heroes of the 1971 war, military veterans and families who lost loved ones fighting for the country were presented with a memento and shawl as an honor by the leader of Congress, who has shared the stage with them at the rally, the first by him ahead of next year’s legislative elections in the state.
The congressional rally at the Parade Ground came days after Prime Minister Modi held a rally at the site.
Tackling Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the development of the area around Kedarnath Temple after the 2013 disaster, former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat said today that people were mediating in ” caves built by us “.
Prime Minister Modi had visited the shrine during the Lok Sabha 2019 polls and meditated there.
the prime minister had unveiled a reconstructed Adi Shankaracharya samadhi in Kedarnath and laid the foundation stone for reconstruction projects worth over Rs 400 crore last month.
Addressing a rally to kick off the Congress Party’s campaign for Assembly elections at Parade Ground here, the former chief minister praised Rahul Gandhi, saying he was the only national leader to surrender in Uttarakhand after the 2013 disaster.
âYou were the only national leader who came to Uttarakhand after the Kedarnath tragedy to wipe away our tears. You walked to Kedarnath,â Rawat said.
âWhen I was appointed Chief Minister in 2014, you told me that the only responsibility given to me was the reconstruction of the affected areas. And today people are meditating in the caves that we have built in Kedarnath, “Rawat said without citing anyone’s name. .
He also credits Gandhi for the success of the farmers’ agitation against the three agricultural laws.
Rawat credited his party with withdrawing the Devasthanam Board Act in Uttarakhand, saying he was against temple autonomy.
âIf we voted for power, we would create a Uttarakhand, free from unemployment, inflation and migration. We would also write a new chapter on empowering women, âsaid Rawat.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Thursday accused Congress of using the photograph of General Bipin Rawat, who was killed in a recent helicopter crash for purely political reasons ahead of the elections, and asked it to explain why one of its rulers once described the country’s first ruler. of the Defense Staff as a âroadside thugâ.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who kicked off his party’s campaign for the Uttarakhand Assembly elections with a rally at Parade Ground here on Thursday, began his speech after offering flowers to a framed photo of the general Rawat on the dais and observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to him.
Addressing a press conference later, Uttarakhand BJP President Madan Kaushik said: âBy putting up a cut from General Rawat at his rally here, Congress is now talking about honoring the staff. of the armed forces. One of the party’s top leaders, Sandeep Dikshit, called General Rawat a roadside hooligan. Is this how the armed forces are honored? Dikshit then apologized for his words.
Questioning the sincerity of the “sudden surge of sentiment” by part of Congress during the election season, Kaushik said the whole country mourns the loss of General Rawat, his wife and other members of the armed forces in the tragic helicopter crash that saw Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra dancing to “dhols and nagadas” at a party program in Goa.
“Congress had asked for evidence of the surgical strike and the Balakot airstrike, but is now talking about honoring the armed forces,” Kaushik said.
Criticizing the Congress, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala tweeted: âThe shameless Congress Party puts pictures of Rahul Gandhi with martyrs on Shraddhanjali wall! Even here they cannot honor the soldiers without parivar bhakti? called Bipin Rawat ji ‘Sadak Ka Gunda’. “
Assembly polls in Uttarakhand are expected early next year.
(With PTI inputs)