March 2, 2019 3:14:33 pm
As the Congress begins its Lok Sabha poll campaign in Punjab on March 7 with the first rally of party president Rahul Gandhi at Moga, it is planning to cash-in the “patriotic emotions” running high in the country in the backdrop of India-Pakistan tension.
The party is mulling to name Rahul’s rally as ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Hindustan’ and the main pandal after CRPF head constable Jaimal Singh, a Moga native who was killed in Pulwama attack on February 14. He belonged to Ghaloti Khurd village of Dharamkot in Moga.
As per the Congress, this is being done to show that the party is standing firmly with Indian forces and that “India is one”. The rally will be dedicated to Indian forces and CRPF men killed in Pulwama, said the party leaders.
PPCC president Sunil Jakhar attended a meeting in Moga Friday to oversee the rally preparations. Later talking to media persons, he said that he has proposed the name of rally, which will be held at Killi Chahlan village, as ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Hindustan Rally’. “One of the main pandals at the venue will be named after CRPF head constable Jaimal Singh killed in Pulwama attack,” he said.
Ironically, Jakhar also blasted at the BJP for “exploiting martyrs and Indian forces for political gains”.
“This step is also being taken to give a clear message to those people with small minds who are using and exploiting the names of the martyrs and our forces for their political gains and getting votes. The BJP has already started using air strikes for votes. BJP leaders like B S Yeddyurappa have already started using Pulwama attack and air strikes in Pakistan for political gains. This is cheap politics to use our forces and martyrs for political gains,” said Jakhar, adding when it comes to “our forces and martyrs, it is not about any party, but India. We want this rally to be a morale booster for our armed forces and to show that we are standing with them at every step, but cheap politics using their name won’t be tolerated. It is about India which stands united.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jakhar said these were some of the suggestions given by the party workers.
Asked if the Congress naming Rahul’s political rally after jawans and the CRPF head constable won’t be politics for votes, Jakhar said, “We simply want to give message that India is one, above everything. India is standing united against enemies. Still, we are yet to finalise the details and discussing some suggestions given by the workers on the name of the rally. But certainly, it will be dedicated to our forces and martyrs who make India what it is.”
Moga MLA Harjot Kamal said that the pandal will be spread on around 115 acres, including parking, and that they are expecting a crowd of 2-2.5 lakh on March 7.
“We are adequately compensating farmers whose crops have been damaged due to the rally. The total area is around 115 acres, including parking. Apart from Jaimal Singh of Moga, three other CRPF men from Punjab, who were killed in the Pulwama attack, will also be remembered and we are planning to name a pandal each after them. This rally will be about giving a message that India stands against terrorism and other enemies. It is not about political mileage, but boosting patriotism and love for our country,” said Kamal.
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