“I want to thank Rahul Gandhi for acknowledging for the first time what the Modi government has achieved in Kashmir.”

Rahul Gandhi acknowledged for the first time what the Narendra Modi government has achieved in Kashmir, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Sunday, reacting to the Congress leader's remarks about people in the region hoisting the national tricolour.

Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters, Mr. Patra hit out at the Congress and said the party was practising "negative" politics by portraying a picture of India as a country that is destroyed and where every individual is unhappy.

“At a time when the world is calling India a bright spot, Rahul Gandhi and the string of speeches by their leaders during the Congress plenary are showing as if India is ruined.”

"I want to thank Rahul Gandhi for acknowledging for the first time what the Modi government has achieved in Kashmir. In Jammu and Kashmir where the tricolour was not hoisted before, today, if the Congress party is seeing thousands of tricolours in the same region, then what is the reason behind this, Rahul Gandhi should also think about it," said Mr. Patra.

He also said that if the people in Kashmir are now raising the tricolour and there is a tricolour at Lal Chowk, then it is because of good governance of the Narendra Modi government.

Addressing the Congress plenary session in Nava Raipur in Chhattisgarh, Mr. Gandhi said that during his Bharat Jodo Yatra he had seen thousands of people of Kashmir raising the national tricolour, even in areas that are the worst hit by terrorism.

Referring to Mr. Gandhi's dig at Prime Minister Modi's speech in Parliament in reference to his unfurling the tricolour at Lal Chowk in 1991, Mr. Patra said that it was in the same spirit that the "Har Ghar Tiranga" movement was started – that there is no place in the country where the Indian flag cannot be unfurled.

Hitting out at the Congress leader's reference to areas in Kashmir as terrorist hit, Mr. Patra said that the Indian tricolour can now be seen there as well.

Mr. Patra also said that Mr. Gandhi should stop making remarks on who is weak and who is strong. He asked if the Congress was referring to Pakistan as a “weak” country when it is a “terrorist state and it had sent terrorists to India, unleashing mayhem in India.” “As far as India's sovereignty is concerned, today under the leadership of Modi ji, India is a capable country in which the army has a 'free hand',” he said.

Quoting the then defence minister A.K. Antony who in 2013 had said in Parliament, "I will not be hesitant to accept the truth. For 70 long years, the policy of India had been 'under-developed borders are the safest places' because China is powerful", Mr. Patra said that this statement “proves the cowardice of the then government.” Mr. Patra further alleged that at the time of the Doklam standoff, when Indian soldiers were putting up a fight to safeguard the country, the Gandhi family was meeting Chinese officials.

“We have also seen the agreement Sonia (Gandhi) and Rahul ji made with Xi Jinping when they went to China in 2008,” he said.

Accusing the Gandhi family of seeking power without responsibility, Mr. Patra rebuked Rahul Gandhi for having to undertake a “short trip to know this country after 52 years” when leaders of the saffron party left their homes early in life as “Pracharaks”.

“Today, India is a bright star. Irrespective of their negative politics, the world has realised the potential of India. Therefore, Rahul Gandhi should not worry about India,” Mr. Patra said.