Srinagar: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has cautioned Congress and said that the main opposition party should see the recent track records of the leaders joining the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra as some “might use” it to “whitewash themselves”. The NC leader was responding to a question about whether Congress should allow leaders like former minister Chaudhary Lal Singh, who allegedly tried to “save the rapists” in the Kathua rape case, to join the Yatra which is scheduled to enter Jammu and Kashmir on January 19.
“Congress will have to see that some people might use the yatra to whitewash themselves (their past). We should not forget the role of those leaders who tried to save the rapist and played with the sentiments of the people. It is not hidden. These leaders will use the yatra to present themselves as secular. This is wrong. Congress leaders should see who is joining the yatra and what the recent track records have been of those leaders,” Abdullah said.
Earlier on Wednesday, People Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti reacted on the issue and said that the “motive” behind the yatra is more important than who is joining it.
Mufti`s reaction came after Congress “allowed” former BJP leader and minister Choudhary Lal Singh to join Bharat Jodo Yatra. “Rahul Gandhi is out on the streets, thousands of people are joining him and trying to stitch back the fabric of the country. It doesn`t matter to me who is joining him, what matters is the motive,” Mufti told ANI.
“J&K had to suffer the most due to communal politics. I think there was no other option for Congress besides Bharat Jodo Yatra, to reclaim their legacy, idea of India, secular and democratic India. So, we welcome Bharat Jodo Yatra and we`ll participate in it,” she added.
On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir Congress spokesperson Deepika Pushkar Nath resigned from the party after its state unit “allowed” former BJP leader and minister Choudhary Lal Singh to join Rahul Gandhi`s Bharat Jodo Yatra. Nath resigned from the party.
Taking to Twitter, Nath said that she is leaving the party on ideological grounds as Singh was responsible for “sabotaging” the 2018 Kathua rape case by “brazenly defending” the rapists of an eight-year-old nomadic girl.
“In view of Choudhary Lal Singh`s proposal of joining Bharat Jodo Yatra and Congress allowing the same, I am left with no other option but to resign from Congress. Lal Singh was responsible for sabotaging the Kathua rape case in 2018 by brazenly defending rapists,” she tweeted.
“Lal Singh divided the entire region of Jammu & Kashmir to protect the rapists and @bharatjodo is ideologically opposite. On ideological grounds, “I cannot share the party platform with such a person,” she tweeted, mentioning Rahul Gandhi.
Notably, Singh was forced by then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to resign as forest minister. Bharat Jodo Yatra will enter Jammu and Kashmir on January 19 where Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah Sanjay Raut, MY Tarigami, Mehbooba Mufti will join the yatra at different locations.