Rahul should apologize for Azad, Soz’s statements, demands Amit Shah

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Jammu, June 23 (IANS) BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday lashed out at the Congress for what he called anti-national statements made by two of its senior leaders, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz, and demanded Congress President Rahul Gandhi should apologize.

Addressing a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally at the Parade Ground here, he accused Azad and Soz of making statements against the national interest.

“Ghulam Nabi Azad has made a statement whose words I do not want to repeat. His statement was supported by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). What relations does the Congress have with the LeT? Saifuddin Soz has said that he agreed with former Pakistan President, General Musharraf, that Kashmiris want independence from India,” he said.

Saying the Congress “seems to have come out in its true colours” after the BJP withdrew support to the PDP-led coalition government, leading to its collapse, in anticipation of the elections, he asked: “Shouldn’t the Congress President question these statements of his party leaders and apologize to the nation?

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“But, I am sure Rahul Gandhi will not do that. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and no power on earth can change this reality.

“Our senior leaders like Syama Prasad Mookerji have given their blood for the integrity of the country,” he said, adding how Mookerjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, considered the forerunner of the BJP, had been arrested when he entered the state in 1953 and allegedly murdered in prison.

Azad said recently that while the security forces in Kashmir killed one militant, they killed 13 civilians with him, while Soz, in his forthcoming book on Kashmir, said that the majority of Kashmiris want independence.

The BJP President said since the people of Jammu had given a massive mandate in favour of his party in the 2014 Assembly elections, he felt it necessary to come and explain to them the reasons for which the BJP withdrew from the Peoples Democratic Party-led coalition in the state.

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He accused former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of having blocked the development of Jammu and Ladakh despite the Narendra Modi-led Central government releasing huge sums of money for these regions.

“Developmental activities of the Jammu and Ladakh regions were deliberately halted which forced us to withdraw from the alliance,” he said, noting that despite Jammu being declared as a ‘Smart City’, the PDP had not started work towards this.

Amit Shah said previous governments of PDP and the National Conference were corrupt along with those of the Congress in the state.

He said if an audit of the assets of the leaders of these parties is held, their personal wealth will surpass that of the whole state.

Seeking to dispel the media narrative that Governor’s rule was imposed in the state because of the law and order situation, he said that the Governor’s rule was in fact imposed to ensure equitable development in the state.

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During his two-day visit here, Shah is chairing a meeting of BJP core group to discuss the party strategy for the 2019 general elections.

Arriving here for the first time after the BJP withdrew from the ruling coalition leading to Governor’s rule, Shah was accompanied by a motorcycle rally of BJP Yuva Morcha activists from the airport to the Canal Road guest house.

–IANS

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