Dehradun- Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the BJP government of ignoring the role of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 1971 War as India celebrates the 50th anniversary of the victory, which he said was achieved as the country was united then.
Referring to his grandmother and the former PM, he said she took “32 bullets for the country” but her name was not even mentioned at a government event on the 1971 War anniversary in New Delhi.
“However, it does not make any difference because I know what she did for the country by giving her blood,” the Congress leader said launching his party’s campaign for the Uttarakhand Assembly polls during a rally at Parade Ground here.
He said the credit for the 1971 War victory, which came in just 13 days, does not go exclusively to the Army, Navy or the political leadership of the day, it goes to the “united fight put up by Indians regardless of their cast or religion”.
Lakhs of families donated gold to the government of the day to strengthen the fight against Pakistan, he said.
“The country spoke in one voice and the America’s Seventh Fleet was forced to return. Usually, full scale wars take years to conclude. But India won the 1971 War in 13 days because it spoke in one voice,” he said.
The Congress leader said helicopters and fighter aircrafts do not strengthen a country.
“A country becomes strong when its people are strong,” he said.
He further said sacrifice defines his relationship with the state from where thousands of people die fighting on the borders for the country.
“The way thousands of families in Uttarakhand lose their kin battling for the country’s honour, my family too has made sacrifices. This is my relationship with Uttarakhand,” he said.
The Congress leader said while travelling to Dehradun, he was thinking what kind of relationship he has with Uttarakhand.
“I thought of the few years I spent here as a student of the Doon School, during which I got a lot of your love. I was also reminded of two dates—October 31—when my grandmother became a martyr and—May 21—when my father was assassinated. And the word that struck me was sacrifice,” he added.
Rahul Gandhi said he was at school when he was told that his grandmother received 32 bullet wounds.
“Such calls are received by thousands of families in Uttarakhand when their kin make the supreme sacrifice to safeguard the country,” he said.
But families that have made no sacrifice for the nation cannot feel this, he said. They cannot feel what it means to lose a father or an uncle, the Congress leader said.
He also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that demonetisation and the GST were the “tools of capitalists”.
“Narendra Modi is their implementor,” he said targeting the PM.
“Take it from me, the youth in this country will not get jobs until the BJP government in New Delhi goes,” the leader said.
Rahul Gandhi claimed that measures like the note ban and the GST destroyed small and medium businessmen.
On rising inflation, he said petrol and diesel prices had fallen in the international market but went up in an unprecedented way in the country due to highest tax on fuel.
He accused the PM of pulling out Rs 10 lakh crore from people’s pockets and transferring them straight to the pockets of “handpicked billionaire capitalists who do his marketing”.
He said the Centre’s farm laws were aimed at “finishing farmers and helping capitalists”.
The former Congress president also criticised the Centre for not accepting that 700 farmers died during the course of the agitation against the laws.
“The prime minister has apologised to farmers for the agriculture laws which were withdrawn after a sustained agitation by farmers but does not acknowledge their deaths and is refusing to pay compensations,” he said.
Rahul said if the Congress is voted to power, it will protect interests of farmers and unemployed youth.
Heroes of the 1971 War, Army veterans and families who lost their kin fighting for the country were offered a memento and a shawl as a gesture of honour by the Congress leader, who shared the dais with them at the rally, the first by him ahead of the next year’s Assembly elections in the state.
The Congress rally at Parade Ground came days after PM Modi held a rally at the venue.
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