Ramban: Hitting out at her party's estranged ally National Conference (NC) for the first time in the past six years, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said "we gave full support to them to run the government but they did not implement our programmes and schemes", including the Food Bill, in the state.
"We gave full support to them (NC) to run the government (in Jammu and Kashmir), but they did not implement our programmes and schemes (in the state)," Sonia told a public rally held here in support of party candidate Ashok Kumar.
Flanked by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni and state party chief Saif-ud-Din Soz, Sonia told the people that by not implementing some of these programmes the NC-led government has denied the people the benefits.
"When our government was at the Centre we came up with the Food Security Bill so that the poorest of the poor gets food on cheap rates... But due to the lethargy of NC, the bill was not implemented in Jammu and Kashmir thereby denying right to the people here," she said.
Asserting that once the Congress is again voted to power in the state, they will implement the Food Security Bill to ensure subsidized food to the poor, she said.
The Congress chief said that "our government at the Centre formed several programmes and schemes for development of Jammu and Kashmir during the past six years which will be explained in our forthcoming manifesto".
Maintaining that Congress has strong bonding with the state, she said "Congress party has always been with Jammu and Kashmir in moment of happiness and grief or difficult times. We will continue to be with you in future as well".
"Our relationship with J&K is very old one. From Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi and to Rajiv Gandhi and later Dr Manmohan Singh worked hard with heart and soul for the development of Jammu and Kashmir," she said, adding it was Jawahar tunnel which connected two sides of the Pir Panjal Range and provided all season road connectivity to the people.
It was the UPA government which in 2011 commenced work on four more tunnels to further provide better surface transport connectivity and one of the tunnels is 11-km long, which is the longest in the country, she said.
Showcasing former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's tenure as "period of development in the state", Gandhi said it was due to efforts of Azad that hundreds of villages and areas were connected through road connectivity and power, besides hospitals and educational institutions were set up.
The biggest thing Congress has done during its rule is an equilateral and equitable development of all the three regions of Kashmir, Ladakh and Jammu and did not discriminated against any region.
Seeking vote for the party to form a majority government in the state, she said "Congress has to do a lot of work in the state which was left behind. You have to vote for Congress to ensure continuance of development and keep away the divisive forces".