Akhnoor (Jammu), Dec 15: Congress on Monday hit out at the BJP on the issue of selecting a chief ministerial candidate irrespective of religion or region, saying the party is now running away from its "old rhetoric" demand of a Hindu head of State or one who hails from the Jammu region.
"BJP and its leadership is now running away from their dacade-old rhetoric of having a chief minister from Jammu and particularly belonging to the Hindu community," senior Congress leader and Jammu and Kashmir Minister Sham Lal Sharma said during an election rally in this border constituency of Jammu district.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley had yesterday said religion would not play any role while selecting the party's chief ministerial candidate in the state. "Religion of the candidate is not important, his vision and his personality is," he had said.
Sharma, who is Congress candidate from Akhnoor seat, said BJP has been batting for the past 67 years for a Hindu chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir or one who hails from the Jammu region and questioned if the party was now backing out on its age-old aspiration.
Jaitley: Religion of the candidate is not important
Addressing poll meetings in remote and hilly villages of Akhnoor, Sharma invited BJP leaders to show them how in his 12 years tenure in the constituency, he had developed the area in terms of road connectivity, power, education, health, drinking water supply among others.
He asked people to give Congress a clear mandate for prosperity and development of the Pahari belt. "My struggle is on two fronts- first, to seek justice for people of Jammu region and second by fulfilling their aspiration for a Hindu chief minister," Sharma said.
He attacked BJP, saying the party has humiliated the entire Jammu masses by escaping from the Hindu chief minister demand and by indirectly saying that Jammu region does not have any visionary personality to match BJP's criteria of next chief ministerial candidate.