Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he shared a special bonding with Uttarakhand where he and his father did their early schooling and promised fast tracking the process of rebuilding lives in the calamity-hit regions of the hill state if the party returns to power at the Centre.
“Both the Central and state governments will work in tandem to pace up reconstruction efforts in Uttarakhand to resuscitate the lives of people hit by the unprecedented tragedy last year,” he said, addressing a campaign meeting in Gauchar in support of party candidate from Pauri Harak Singh Rawat.
Referring to his visit to Gauchar when the state was grappling with the effects of the June disaster, Rahul said he understands what people have gone through and would work to ensure that rehabilitation efforts are paced up to help people get back on their feet in flood ravaged areas.
“I came to your homes, shared your woes and stood for you (during the tragedy). The tragedy that struck Uttarakhand last year shook the whole nation. “I can assure you that if Congress returns to power at the Centre, both the central and state governments will work as a team to fast-track rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the state,” he said.
Rahul who is on a daylong whirlwind tour of the hill state during which he will address two more campaign meetings in Almora and Kashipur, said he shared a special bonding with Uttarakhand where his great grandfather Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru spent long periods in jails and where he and his father Rajiv Gandhi did their early schooling.
The Nehru-Gandhi scion said it was due to this sense of bonding with the state that he took up the vexed issue of one rank one pension for army in which a large number of people of the state serve and took it to its logical conclusion with the kind cooperation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“Many armymen from different states including Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand met me in New Delhi with a request to fulfil this long standing demand of theirs (one rank one pension). I took the matter to prime minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and other party leaders.
“Though many thought it would be difficult, both the Prime Minister and Sonia ji said howsoever difficult it may be, it must be done in the next theree days and it happened, he said.