A day after riding a motorcycle from Leh to Pangong Tso in Ladakh, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi paid tribute to his father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary from the banks of the lake on Sunday.
“Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed his life for the country. We have gathered here to remember him,” Vikar Rasool Wani, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee told news agency ANI.
Sharing a video on X (formally Twitter), Rahul Gandhi wrote in Hindi: “Dad, the dreams you had for India shimmer through these priceless memories in your eyes. In your footsteps lies my path – I understand the struggles and dreams of every Indian, I am listening to the voice of Mother India.”
Rahul Gandhi is currently on a tour of Ladakh — his first since the region was made a Union territory after being carved out of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 — and is likely to visit Kargil next week.
The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was also turned into a Union territory and its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was revoked.
Gandhi reached Leh on a two-day visit on Thursday, later deciding to extend his stay in the region by four more days to cover Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley and Kargil district, Congress spokesperson and leader of opposition in Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, Tsering Namgyal said.
After covering more than 130 km on motorcycle, Gandhi stayed overnight at Pangong Lake, at a height of 14271 feet, where a token celebration is planned on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi on Sunday, news agency PTI reported citing Namgyal.
Rahul Gandhi shared several pictures of his motorcycle expedition from Leh to Pangong on his social media account with a caption “On our way to Pangong lake, which my father used to say, is one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
“On Sunday, he is leaving for Nubra Valley on the motorcycle for a night stay there. En route, he is likely to meet commoners including shopkeepers and farmers,” Namgyal said, adding he will be back in Leh on Monday.
Though the trip was described by his party colleagues in Leh as “non-political” with no consideration of next year’s parliamentary elections, Rahul Gandhi was given a warm welcome by party workers on his arrival on Thursday.
He also met party colleagues and interacted with the youth besides watching a football match between two local clubs.
Gandhi will be visiting Kargil district either on Monday or Tuesday, the Congress spokesperson said, adding he is likely to interact with party workers and people, especially the youth, there.
The visit of Gandhi to the district assumes significance as LAHDC, Kargil is going to polls on September 10. The National Conference and the Congress have already announced a pre-poll alliance for the hill council elections.
(With inputs from PTI)