Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the BJP on Friday of playing politics over providing relief to Jammu and Kashmir’s flood victims, propelling her party’s campaign for the assembly election by invoking history and promising a secular polity in India’s only Muslim-majority state.
Gandhi, who was canvassing for party candidate Usman Majeed in Bandipora, said the polls are taking place at a time when people of the state are yet to come to terms with the devastation caused by the September deluge.
“The pace of relief and rehabilitation is slow. BJP leaders came and promised the sky but did not give anything. Even what the state government asked was not given. It seems they are not interested,” she told a crowd of more than 5,000 people at a local stadium.
The Congress president said the UPA government went all out to provide assistance to the victims of the 2005 earthquake that hit vast swathes along the Line of Control, particularly Baramulla district’s Uri sector.
“We promised hill development councils and fulfilled it. We focussed on development,” she said. “We had entered into a coalition in Kashmir to uphold secularism. We will continue to work for secularism and keep communal forces away.”
While the state government had sought Rs 44,000 crore for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction for the flood-affected people and infrastructure, the Prime Minister announced a Rs 745-crore package when he visited Jammu and Kashmir on October 23.
"Congress has an all-weather relation with the people of Kashmir. My family roots bring me here time and again,” Gandhi said.
The National Conference-Congress coalition government could not do much during the past six years, Gandhi said, but asked the people to vote for her party to keep communal forces at bay.