Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad inaugurates 'Sarwari Kasana Hall' at Gujjar Charitable trust in Jammu on Sunday. (ANI)
Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad inaugurates 'Sarwari Kasana Hall' at Gujjar Charitable trust in Jammu on Sunday. (ANI)

Azad heaps praise on PM for remaining connected to his roots

On February 9, the PM had given an emotional farewell speech to Azad when the latter had retired from the Rajya Sabha.
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 02:19 AM IST

Former Rajya Sabha member and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not forgetting his roots despite becoming the PM of the country.

He asked the audience to learn from the PM on how to remain grounded to his roots.

Azad’s comments come day after G23 leaders held a well-attended public rally from the podium of Gandhi Global Family here on Saturday.

On February 9, the PM had given an emotional farewell speech to Azad when the latter had retired from the Rajya Sabha. “I (will) not let you retire, I will continue taking your advice. My doors are always open for you,” Modi had said.

Addressing a function of the Gujjar community at Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust here, Azad said, “I have seen that when some among the Gujjar community become MLAs, they feel that they shouldn’t be called Gujjars and some feel shy that they come from villages.”

“I like many things of many big leaders… like I am from village and I feel proud of it. Our PM also says that he is from village and was nothing (non-entity) and that he washed utensils and sold tea. Politically, we may have serious differences and are opposed to him but he didn’t hide his true self. And, those who hide their true self, they live in a bubble… in an imaginary world. People should be proud of their roots,” he added.

Azad further said, “I have travelled across the world, stayed in five star and seven star hotels but when I sit with my people in village, I get a real sense of satisfaction...their clothes may not be clean but the soil of village has a different fragrance. You don’t need cosmetic scents because we are born and have grown up there”.

Azad regretted that in today’s world people are respected because of their position and status in the society.

“So my advice to the new generation of Gujjar community is to remain grounded and take pride in their roots,” he added.

Later, responding to media queries, Azad said that he had come to Jammu after one and a half years and Saturday’s Global Gandhi Family function was no show of strength.

‘No show of strength, it was just 10%, 90% still remains’

“There was no show of strength yesterday. I came here after one and a half year to attend long pending engagements here. Firstly, Covid consumed entire year and before it was budget session and winter session. Yesterday’s function was just 10 percent and 90 percent still remains,” he said.

‘We have got invite from 5 states, will campaign for Congress’

Reacting to Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Azad said, “How does he know that we aren’t going in the election bound states. For his information, we have got invite from all the five states and we will certainly go there for campaigning for the Congress.”

Singhvi on Saturday had said that leaders in the “Group of 23” are respectable partymen in whom it took pride, but advised them to make their “best contribution” and display their “loyalty” to the party by campaigning to strengthen it in the states that are going to polls.

West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam and Puducherry are going to elections in a phased manner from March 27.

On revocation of Article 370 and making J&K a UT, Azad said it was like demoting DGP to the rank of constable.

‘Development visible on papers, nothing on the ground’

He also recalled that how under his chief ministership in the Congress-PDP government; he introduced the culture of working in double and triple shifts to expedite development in the three regions of the erstwhile state.

“Unfortunately, the work is not done in even half shift now. I appeal the government here and will appeal Centre also that work on ground should be done. Roads are dilapidated, development is not visible on the ground, education and industries are in shambles, unemployment is peaking and taxes after taxes are being levied here. The taxes should be in consonance with income. While income of J&K is zero, taxes are 110%,” he said.

“First of all economy has to be put back on rails and development activities have to be expedited. Ironically, development is visible on paper but there is nothing on the ground,” he added.

J&K has to be given three to four times more funds by Delhi, like what used to happen during our time, he said.

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