Rahul asks Kashmiris to vote for progress, peace

November 28th, 2008 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiUdhampur, Nov 28 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi addressed his first public rally in Jammu and Kashmir Friday and urged voters to give a clear majority to his party to enable “over-all development, peace and prosperity” and help fight terrorism.Addressing about 4,000 people in Udhampur town, about 65 km north of Jammu, Rahul said: “Give us clear majority so that we don’t have to look to others while delivering to you.”

Rahul said that it was only the Congress that could give progress, development and prosperity to the nation amidst peaceful environs. He expressed concern at the increasing number of “terrorist attacks” in the country and said that his party had concrete plans to fight it out.

The Congress general secretary was on his first ever political visit to Jammu and Kashmir, where assembly elections are underway in a phased manner.

Earlier in the day, Rahul campaigned for his party candidate in Karnah constituency of Kupwara district in north Kashmir that goes to polls in third phase Nov 30.

Sheikh Yasin, a retired deputy commissioner, is fighting the polls on Congress ticket from Karnah.

“We have put up a strong candidate in Karnah and Rahul Gandhi’s visit would be a great boost to him,” said state Congress committee president Saif-ud-Din Soz.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is slated to arrive in the state Dec 3. She is set to campaign in Uri in the Kashmir Valley and the mountain-locked Doda district in Jammu region, said party spokesperson Ravinder Sharma.

The Congress leaders are enthused by the large turnout of voters in the first two of the seven-phased elections for Jammu and Kashmir’s 87-member assembly. The row over the allotment of land to the Amarnath shrine board had in July resulted in the fall of the Ghulam Nabi Azad government, the first Congress chief minister of the state in three decades.

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