Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Uttarakhand on October 24 to participate in Shaheed Samman Yatra. The union minister will launch the yatra from the Kumaon region.
Uttarakhand Soldier Welfare Minister Ganesh Joshi met Singh and Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat on Friday. Asked if yatra has been timed ahead of assembly polls for electoral gains, Joshi said it was planned in advance and is based on a suggestion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"BJP does not do anything for political gains. We respect martyrs. Prime Minister Modi when he came to Uttarakhand spoke about the fifth Dham in the state as every fifth member in the army manning the border is from our state. We will take out Shaheed Samman Yatra from Garhwal on October 21 and from Kumaon on October 24," Joshi told.
"As many as 1,734 families have been contacted. We will visit them and take soil from their home to be used in the Dham. Rajnath Singh will launch the October 24 yatra in the Kumaon region," he added.
The BJP is expecting to reach out to voters of every village through the yatra to honour the families who have lost their members in service of the nation. There is an estimated 4 lakh 'fauji' voters in Uttarakhand which is a significant number considering the population of the state.
Responding to Aam Admi Party's (AAP) performance in polls, Joshi said "AAP is not relevant in the state".
"Kejriwal had raised doubts over the army during surgical strikes. He will not be taken seriously by the people," he said. The state is slated to go for assembly polls in early 2022.
(With inputs from ANI)