Bandipora: Congress said on Friday that no regional political party in the state has the ability to take on the BJP in the Assembly polls and only it can stop its onslaught.
Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told an election meeting in this north Kashmir town that the sphere of influence of the regional parties, apparently referring to the National Conference and PDP, ends at the state’s borders.
“BJP has roots from Jammu and Kanyakumari. Only the Congress, with its pan-India presence, can stop the BJP,” Azad said while canvassing for Congress candidate from Bandipora, Usman Majid.
Congress and its former allies NC and PDP, with whom it formed the two previous governments in the state, are wooing voters this time around by portraying BJP as the biggest challenge facing the state, especially after the saffron party publically proclaimed it will abrogate Article 370 that grants now hollowed-out “special status” to Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Union.
After the most humiliating defeat ever at the hands of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress was reduced to a party which did not even qualify for Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
State Congress president Saifuddin Soz told the meeting that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, not the BJP, was ruling India, while referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a former ‘pracharak’.
“One man is deciding on all foreign and internal policies. It is unprecedented. There is no scope for all religions to flourish under such a regime. The BJP government will soon face an internal crisis because of this,” Soz said, urging people to vote for Congress in all constituencies if they “wanted to keep” such forces at bay.
“But Kashmir will not allow such designs to succeed,” the senior Congress leader said.
According to Soz, a former MP, many Indian industrialists close to Modi have sent their representatives to Baramulla, Anantnag and other places in the Valley to buy voters.
“Some materialistic people have sold their consciences for money in these places. But those who believe in the Congress will vote for it,” he said.
Azad also recalled the days when he visited Bandipora as part of a delegation of Indian parliamentarians in the mid-nineties when the place was “sandwiched between terrorism and atrocities by security forces”.
“But I salute the people for defeating terrorism with their own hands,” he said.
Congress’ star campaigner and president Sonia Gandhi said that after September floods the BJP-led government had promised sky, but failed to deliver on its promises so far.
“The slow pace of rehabilitation works speaks a lot about those promises,” she said, while promising an air strip for Bandipora, two development councils for Pir Panjal and Chenab valleys and development of Wullar Lake if Congress comes to power in the state.