Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being candid about his past. A person should be proud of his roots, said Azad while speaking at an event organised by Gujjar Desh Charitable Trust in Jammu.
“I admire several things about a number of leaders... I am from a village and I am proud of it. A big leader, our prime minister, says he is from a village, he used to sell tea.
"We may have political differences, but at least he doesn't hide his reality," the opposition leader said.
Recently, Modi had profusely praised Azad, who was the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, during the latter’s farewell in the Upper House.
Azad's remarks come a day after he and other 'G-23' leaders, who have been pressing for a leadership change and organisational overhaul in the Congress, gathered on one stage at an event in Jammu and said the party was weakening.
Meanwhile, during a brief interaction with media persons, Azad refuted claims that the presence of senior party leaders at the function in Jammu on Saturday was a show of strength to convey a message to the party high command.
The leaders, including Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari and Raj Babbar, were part of the group which had triggered a storm in the party last year, after they had penned a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, expressing unhappiness over the party’s functioning.
“I have returned after a gap of one-and-a-half years. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic (in March last year), there was a budget and winter session. There was a long demand that a function be organised,” Azad said justifying Saturday’s event.
When asked about the situation in J&K before and after the abrogation of Article 370, he quipped, “It is like a DGP being stripped of his rank and being made an ordinary policeman.”
“I can tell that the developmental work, which used to take place in triple shifts, is not happening now. I went around many areas and have seen the roads in a dilapidated condition and industries have been shut. There is talk of development but it is only on paper and not visible on the ground,” he claimed.
Azad asked the Centre to ensure that development schemes are implemented and to focus on improving the economic condition of the region by pumping money "beyond the regular budgetary allocation as was the practice in the past during the Congress rule".
With PTI Inputs