Srinagar: Congress leader Raj Babbar on Saturday echoed Narendra Modi by saying that funds from the Centre meant for the people of Jammu and Kashmir did not reach them, but was cut short by state party chief Saif-ud-din Soz who said the Prime Minister was resorting to "propaganda".
"If you ask me honestly, I have been saying this since 1982 that the money from Delhi does not reach the people here. I was not in politics then but I have been saying this and this is the reason that people here feel that they have not been given their due," Babbar told reporters here.
Babbar, however, added that the Congress party had no evil intentions and had started a policy for the funds to directly reach the people.
"When UPA understood this, they started a policy 'your money into your hands'. The sole aim to start this policy was that the common man should get what was his right. Now, did people actually benefit or not, but there is no evil in Congress' intentions," he said.
Babbar was quickly cut short by Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Soz, who said the Prime Minister was resorting to "propaganda" and such a "falsehood" was not "acceptable" to the people.
"Modi resorts to propaganda in everything. Nobody can say that all the central funding has gone waste. This is a falsehood that is not acceptable to the people," Soz said.
Soz said though he was "not happy" with the state government, where his party is in a coalition with the National Conference (NC), he cannot blame the entire government for usurping central funds.
"I was not happy with this outgoing government because governance was one of the poorest for various reasons. Things may have gone wrong...But I cannot blame the entire government for having usurped central funding," he said.
At a rally in Udhampur, in Jammu region, yesterday, the Prime Minister said the Centre had pumped so much money for the development of the state that if it was distributed and directly deposited into the bank accounts of the residents here "you people would have been the richest people in the country. But, you people never got anything."
Soz alleged that there was no leadership of the BJP in the country and Modi was "leading the RSS" and running the government "single-handedly".
"Prime Minister Modi is running the government single-handedly and is leading the RSS. There is no BJP leadership in the country today and those who compare him with (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee, they are wrong," he said.
The JKPCC president said uniform civil code cannot be implemented in the country and the Prime Minister should "understand" the mood of a democracy.
"Modi should understand the mood of the democracy. There cannot be a Common Civil Code and Ram Temple can only be built if Muslims and Hindus build it together or Supreme Court decides over it. And no one can change Article 370. These three slogans were in their manifesto in 2014 Parliament elections. Now they are spreading over Article 370, their intentions are not good," he said.
Claiming that Modi had "no way" to wipe the tears of the people of the state, Babbar appealed the people to understand the "thinking" of the BJP.
"Modi said I come here every month and no PM had been here before this. And that he will come here every month to wipe the tears (of the people). I feel sad that the Prime Minister of the country knows that people have tears in their eyes. He has no way to stop those tears but he wants that they should continue so that he comes here to wipe them."
"Try to understand this thinking. They have reached Delhi. Their thinking is that the tears should flow, that you do not have guts to talk and try to stop your voice. They want to stop the process of your dialogue," he said. The actor-turned-politician said Congress was not after any mission like the BJP's "Mission 44 Plus", but cared for the smiles of the people of the state.
"We are not running with any mission like a thinking which has reached Delhi and is now saying so in Jammu. We take along the smiles of the people. If they have a mission, we have the smiles. For the smiles on the faces of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to continue, we want Congress to come to power here and I assure you we will come up to the expectations of the people," he said.
Asked if there was a lack of leadership in the party, Babbar said, "I do not think the Congress lacks leadership. There was an incumbency of 10 years (for it being voted out of power)".
"But there is no need to worry, such things happen in the country. People come in large numbers to attend a story-telling event or a mushaira (poetry recitation). But it does not mean that all the people support that. Time will come and everything will be right politically."
"Those, who think for the people, will again come forward. And Congress is not just a party or a symbol, it is a thinking, it is an institution for protecting the constitutional rights of the people and this party will come back because the people will need it," he said.
On a question of dynastic politics, Babbar said, "these things go on. But no special treatment is given to anyone and every worker of the party is treated equally".
Both the leaders expressed confidence that Congress will emerge as the largest party after the elections.