Himachal Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Suresh Kashyap on Tuesday criticised state Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore for blaming the BJP-led state government for removing plaque bearing names of Sonia Gandhi and other leaders at Atal tunnel Rohtang and charged that it was the previous Congress-led government which had removed it.
Kashyap said former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was in power in Himachal when Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders laid the foundation stone of Atal Tunnel. But after the Congress government came into power, all the foundation stones laid during the BJP regime were removed and replaced.
“Congress party talks about democratic values but everyone knows as to what the party leaders do when they come into power in the state.
BJP always follows parliamentary norms and the party has several examples of Congress leaders during their regime removing foundation stones laid by the BJP government in the state,” he added. State BJP chief said everyone knows what Congress party did for the state and the Atal tunnel was the dream project of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee which was fulfilled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who inaugurated it on 3 October.
“It is a matter of pride for Himachal Pradesh and its people that Atal Tunnel is the highest in the world that will boost the tourism activities in the state, besides providing all weather connectivity to tribal people of Lahaul Spiti.
The tunnel will become a tourist attraction for domestic as well international tourists and it will prove a lifeline for Lahaul Spiti residents,” he added. It is worth mentioning here that state Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore on Monday had accused BJP of trying to distort history of Atal Tunnel by removing the foundation stone that was laid by the former UPA government, bearing names of Sonia Gandhi, Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh.
Rathore had termed the act as illegal and against democratic norms and had claimed that the BJP was indulging in such tactics to serve its political motives.
Congress party had filed a complaint in this regard with the police and Rathore had urged Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to restore the plaque within 15 days, otherwise the party would stage statewide protests on the issue. Rathore had said he had also received such reports of removal of foundation stones laid by former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and other leaders from Shimla, Solan, Lahaul Spiti districts and other constituencies of the state.