BJP president flags off ‘Rashtriya Ekta Yatra' from Kolkata

Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday asserted that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and it could not be granted “freedom or autonomy” even if a section of separatist forces was demanding it.

He was flagging off the ‘Rashtriya Ekta Yatra' (national integrity movement) here. Organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the march will traverse 12 States before the national flag is hoisted at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day under the leadership of BJYM national president Anurag Thakur.

Even as the ‘yatra' has come under strong criticism from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and a section of the separatist forces, Mr. Gadkari said it was the fundamental right of an Indian citizen to hoist the national flag in any corner of the country.

The BJP was not against the interests of Muslims or any other religious community, Mr. Gadkari said. He alleged that it was the Congress that was playing “vote-bank politics” by playing on the emotions of the people through several faulty policies.

Open to infiltrators

“The Assam border has been thrown open to Bangladeshi infiltrators who are settling down here illegally and snatching away the livelihood opportunities of the local Assamese… yet Hindus from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are not allowed to cast their votes in elections here and the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits are hardly voiced anywhere,” Mr. Gadkari pointed out.

He deplored the UPA government's “inaction and silence” over the soaring food prices, especially of onions, and the series of financial scams which were exposed over the last few months.

‘Mere lip service'

Slamming the Congress' ‘garibi hatao' campaign as a mere lip service, Mr. Gadkari said: “Inflation figures have crossed the 18 per cent mark, there is no drinking water and farmer suicides are rising steadily. I want to ask both the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi who has actually benefited from such slogans apart from the Congress.”

Nehru's policies

Attributing the current volatile situation in Kashmir to the former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru's alleged “appeasement policies,” the BJP president charged the Congress with allowing Maoists and Pakistani infiltrators to spread arms through its “indifference and inaction” towards the problems.