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What Ex BJP Minister MJ Akbar Said On Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra

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Journalist-turned-politician M J Akbar has said the quality of governance will decide the 2024 general elections, and that Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo’ campaign would not have much impact on poll outcomes.

The former minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet also said tourism has flourished in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of the abrogation of the state’s special status by striking down Article 370 of the constitution.

PM Modi has taken some “radical decisions” in the first term and continued with it in the second, Akbar told PTI on Monday.

He said the next general election “will be won on the basis of governance and not on journeys”.

The veteran journalist, who had earlier been with the Congress before switching to the BJP, was referring to Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

“For me, the ultimate, the central fact of governance is how much one has done for the poor. And this is where Prime Minister Modi is much ahead compared to the state governments,” Akbar said.

The Constitution says that poverty has to be addressed and Modi is determined to eliminate it, he said.

“Look at the achievement of having undergone a crisis, like COVID, for two-and-a-half years without the poor being disaffected…this is an enormous achievement. Sometimes we cannot see the enormity of what is happening,” the senior journalist said.

On the Congress also having come up with “pro-people” work, he rhetorically asked without naming the grand old party, whether it could deliver a stable government.

“You not only have to deliver in terms of governance, but also you have to tell the people that you will be able to bring in a stable government, a reliable government, a government that can last its course,” he said.

On terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “Nobody can eliminate cross-border terrorism, which is fomented and which is now the official policy of another country. So it would be too much to expect to be eliminated. But look at the facts – tourism is at its unprecedented peak.” The BJP-led central government while justifying the withdrawal of special status for Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 had implicitly said it would help in curbing terrorism.

“These are signs that peace and change have been brought. All the positive indices show how successful governance has been in Kashmir,” he added.

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