Dehradun: Politics continued to be played in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand on Tuesday with the government allowing Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to visit rain-battered parts of the state.
This is in stark contrast to what happened when Narendra Modi had visited the state following the devastation last week.
Modi was denied permission to travel to affected regions to review the situation, with Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde saying VIP visits hamper rescue efforts.
However, the same set of rules doesn’t seem to have been followed in case of Rahul Gandhi, who has been visiting flood-affected places and meeting stranded people.
Congress has also been critical of Modi’s ‘rambo’ act during which he reportedly rescued 15,000 stranded Gujaratis from Uttarakhand.
PM, Sonia condemn Srinagar attack, say terrorism will be defeated
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minster Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah wave to the crowd during the foundation stone lying ceremony of the 850 MW Rattle hydro power project in Kishtwar district of the Jammu.
Kishtwar: A day after the militant strike in Srinagar left eight soldiers dead, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the entire country stands united against terrorism and the terrorists will not succeed in their evil designs.
“I want to pay my tributes to the soldiers who laid down their lives while fighting the terrorists,” Singh said in his speech after inaugurating 850 MW Rattle power project here along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Security is a pre-requisite for development, the Prime Minister said as he paid tributes to the soldiers killed in militant strike yesterday, asserting such attacks would not deter efforts to bring normalcy in the state.
“Our analysis is that the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has shown considerable improvement. The terrorist- related violence in 2012 had shown a sharp decline and was the lowest in last two decades,” the Prime Minister said.
However, Singh said there was a need to keep a constant vigil to prevent attacks like the one that took place yesterday at Hyderpora.
On the power front, the Prime Minister said the Centre will provide all help to Jammu and Kashmir in overcoming the power shortage and announced several steps in this direction, including additional 150 MW supply from the Northern Grid.
Addressing the people of Jammu & Kashmir, the PM said, “My government is planning to start Srinagar-Leh power transmission line worth Rs 1,629 crore to ensure power supply in Leh throughout the year.”
On her turn, Sonia Gandhi also strongly condemned the attack on military convoy in Srinagar and expressed her condolence over the death of eight army men in the incident.
The Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were given a rousing welcome after they arrived in Udhampur this morning. The two were then flown by helicopter to Kishtwar where they inaugurated a hydel power project.
The Prime Minister’s Office yesterday confirmed that Dr Singh will visit the state despite the terror attack at an Army convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s capital Srinagar in which eight jawans were killed.
During the visit, the PM is also expected to announce a package for border areas of the state.
The Prime Minister and Gandhi will tomorrow launch a train service between Qazigund in Kashmir and Banihal in Jammu, providing an all-weather surface link to the Valley that often gets cut off from rest of the country in the winter due to heavy snowfall.
Congress always with secular forces: Shinde on Nitish
Patna: Amid speculation about a future tie up between Congress and JD(U) after the latter severed relations with BJP, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Tuesday said his party was always for secularism and that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was a “good human being.”
“Whenever there is talk of secularism or a secular state, Congress is with it. It’s the duty of secular forces to assist each other,” Shinde told reporters here.
“Casteism and communal forces cannot run the country … only secular institutions can run the nation,” he said in a veiled attack on the BJP.
“When I was MP, he (Nitish) was Railway minister,” Shinde said describing the Chief Minister as “a good human being and known to me from the past.”
The two are going together by air to Supual bordering Nepal to lay the foundation stone of an SSB recruitment training centre and start work on a 552-km Indo-Nepal border road.
The Chief Minister was present in the airport at the time Shinde spoke, but they were not together.
Ever since four Congress MLAs voted in favour of Nitish Kumar during the June 19 trust vote, speculation is rife about a future relationship between the Congress and JD(U).
Congress has ended its ties with long time friend Lalu Prasad’s RJD in Bihar and is contesting all elections on its own in the state since the 2009 Parliamentary polls, at the insistence of its Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.
However, the performance of the Congress has dipped, as reflected by its nominee losing the security deposit in the Maharajganj bypoll.