Former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah said on Monday that they see a ray of hope in Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
As the two leaders invoked Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary while praising Rahul Gandhi for the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Abdullah also urged the former Congress president to undertake another 'yatra' from west to east of the country and promised to join the march "to spread the message of peace, brotherhood and love".
“I welcome Rahul ji and others. Rahul ji said he has come to Kashmir to his home. Rahul ji, this is your home.
"I hope that whatever has been taken from Jammu and Kashmir and this country, by (Nathuram) Godse’s ideology, will be returned by a Gandhi, and not just to J-K, but to the whole country,” Mufti, the chief of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said at the rally to mark the culmination of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Both Mufti and Abdullah had joined Gandhi in his walk during the Jammu and Kashmir leg of the Yatra.
Mufti said the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi had said in 1947 – at the time of the Partition – that he sees a ray of hope in J-K.
“Today, the whole country sees that ray of hope in Rahul Gandhi,” the PDP chief said.
Echoing Mufti's sentiments, National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah said the Yatra has rekindled the ray of hope in the whole of the country.
“Mehbooba Mufti was correct. Today, (MK) Gandhiji was martyred. Gandhiji in 1947 said he sees a ray of hope in J-K. This yatra, perhaps, has once again rekindled that ray of hope in the whole country,” Abdullah said.
Congratulating the former Congress president and the party on his behalf and that of his father Farooq Abdullah and the NC, the junior Abdullah said the Yatra has truly been very successful.
“This country was in a dire need of this Yatra,” he added.
The NC leader said there has been an attempt to give an impression to the world that there is only one thinking in this country which is of "Sangh Parivar which is communal".
“But, this Yatra has proved that while there are those who like the BJP, but there are also those who want new politics without the BJP, who want a fresh thinking, who want brotherhood and want to live in peace and with love and affection with each other,” he said, adding the "BJP cannot give this thinking".
Calling upon Gandhi to unite the country's east and west through another Bharat Jodo Yatra, Abdullah said he will also take part in it to spread the message of peace, brotherhood and love.
“Rahul, your Yatra joined south India with the north. I know you need some rest as you have been walking continuously since September, but, I request you that perhaps, time has come to join eastern India with the west through a Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“We got to walk a bit with you on this Yatra. There is a vast part of the country from east to west which I have not seen. If you walk from east to west, then God willing, it will be my endeavour to walk with you and spread the message of peace, brotherhood and love,” he said.
Speaking amidst heavy snowfall, Abdullah said the fresh snowfall in the Valley was a good omen.
“You (Gandhi) brought snow to Srinagar. We had been waiting for this for long. This snow is a good omen, there is betterment for us in this snow. While the snow affected the programme, it has brought light to our lives, for which we thank you as well,” the NC vice president said.
With the rally, curtains have come down on the Yatra that traversed a dozen states and two Union territories in nearly five months after its launch on September 7 last year in Kanyakumari.
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