The BJP on Sunday slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's "uncalled for and unwarranted" attack on the government and the RSS, and asked him to acknowledge that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation had created the conditions that allowed him to unfurl the national flag in Srinagar's Lal Chowk.
Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was Mr. Modi's decisive leadership that led to the revocation of Article 370, bringing peace in the Valley with the tricolour now being unfurled on Independence Day and Republic Day, even in the erstwhile den of terror outfits.
Other BJP leaders echoed the view with party spokesperson and former Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore saying that Mr. Modi had created such an atmosphere in Kashmir that any Indian could now hoist the national flag with pride at Lal Chowk.
He asked Mr. Gandhi to thank the Prime Minister for the change in the Valley.
In a swipe at the Congress' handling of militancy in Kashmir, Mr. Prasad told reporters that what happened under the 10-year rule of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi and, in general, during the the Congress rule, was known to people.
The number of tourists had gone up manifold as peace was restored in the Valley, he said.
"What is indeed tragic is that even after over 3,000 km of the so-called yatra, Gandhi's view about the RSS and the BJP remains the same as he made unfounded insinuations. It is not a Bharat Jodo Yatra but a political campaign against the BJP government in general and PM Modi in particular," the former Law Minister said.
Providing alternative vision
Mr. Gandhi accused the RSS and the BJP of fomenting division and hate in the country and said his yatra, which would conclude on Monday, was aimed at offering an alternative vision.
He alleged that the government believed in denying that China had "taken our land". This was an extremely dangerous approach, he said.
Mr. Gandhi unfurled the tricolour at the historic clock tower of Lal Chowk, popularly known as 'Ghanta Ghar', as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
On a nagging spree
Mr. Prasad reminded the former Congress president that his father Rajiv Gandhi, grandmother Indira Gandhi and great- grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru and all former PMs, kept hurling "abuses" at the RSS but it went from strength to strength with its sister organisations, while the Opposition party had been shrinking.
Mr. Gandhi was able to do it because of the policies of Prime Minister Modi who dealt a severe blow to separatism and terrorism by abrogating Article 370 (in 2019) and strengthened nationalist forces, paving the way for the normalisation of the situation and return of peace to the region, Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina said in Jammu.
Mr. Modi, along with the then BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi, unfurled the national flag at the same venue when terrorism was at its peak in 1990, he said.
Referring to the recent statement of AICC in-charge J-K Rajni Patil that Mr. Gandhi would unfurl the national flag at the party headquarters rather than Lal Chowk which was the agenda of the RSS, Mr. Raina said, “Though late, the Congress has started working on the nationalist agenda of the RSS.”
"We want to tell Gandhi and his party leaders to learn from the RSS members who have nationalist sentiments in their hearts and work for the nation," he said taking a swipe at the Congress.
“We want to tell Gandhi and his party leaders to learn from the RSS members who have nationalist sentiments in their hearts and work for the nation”Ravinder RainaJammu and Kashmir BJP president