Rahul Gandhi falls back on family ties to woo Kashmiris

Z-MORH, SONMARG (TIP): Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi arrived in Jammu & Kashmir on Thursday amid reports of growing differences between his party and ruling coalition partner National Conference and threat to panchayat members. He identified himself as a Kashmiri to reach out to the people and said he wanted to understand their pain.
“I want to hear you, understand your problems and work for their redressal,” said Rahul.

At the foundation stone laying ceremony of the 6.5 km Z-Morh tunnel at Sonamarg, about 85 km from Srinagar to be built in five years by the Border Roads Organisation, Rahul said, “I am from a Kashmiri family and want to have lifelong relations with the people of J&K. No power can separate us.”

The Z-Morh tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh section of the NH 1 is the first step towards all-weather road connectivity in the state. Another tunnel would be built at Zojila Pass about 22 km from Z-Morh tunnel.

Rahul wanted the youth of J&K to be involved in the development of the state. “Every state has enjoyed its share in the development process. J&K also deserves all-round development and economic welfare,” Rahul said.

Rahul recalled the close ties between CM Omar Abdullah’s grandfather Sheikh Abdullah and his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru and his father Rajiv Gandhi’s relations with Omar’s father Farooq Abdullah. He wanted to work with Omar Abdullah similarly for the betterment of J&K.

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Omar reciprocated with fond memories of the ties between his family with the Gandhis and called Rahul a “personal friend”.

Omar said attempts were made to address the Kashmir issue. “My grandfather (Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah) and Jawahar Lal Nehru joined hands for the progress of this state and country. Then Rajiv-Farooq accord happened. The agenda was one that somehow the political issues of J&K be solved through dialogue,” he said.

Farooq Abdullah said there would be problems along their way but they should remain steadfast in their endeavours. “Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah joined hands for a progressive Kashmir.

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