Congress’ Ajay Rai visits slain IAF pilot’s family in Varanasi on Raksha Bandhan

Varanasi: Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Rai visited the family here of Indian Air Force pilot Vishal Pandey, who died in an air crash in 2019, to get rakhis tied by his two sisters.

Pandey, a resident of the Hukulganj locality of Varanasi, was among six IAF personnel who lost their lives in a Mi-17 helicopter crash in Budgam district of central Kashmir on February 27, 2019.

Vijay Shankar Pandey, the pilot’s father, said Ajay Rai and other Congressmen visited on Raksha Bandhan like every year and his daughters tied rakhis on their wrists.

He said Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Ajay Rai have remained in touch with the family. “Priyanka Gandhi got my daughter Vaishnavi admitted in Indore’s Renaissance University and she is now working after completing her course,” he added.

Vishal Pandey was the eldest of four siblings.

Interacting with reporters later, Rai said, “We salute the brave son of Mother India, martyr Vishal Pandey, who sacrificed his life for the sake of the country. He may not be among us, but through his bravery, his presence can still be felt among us.”

“His younger sisters should not feel alone. Their brother’s loss cannot be compensated, but we definitely can assure that we are standing with his family members. We Congressmen get rakhis tied from our sisters every year. We all Congressmen are standing with sisters Vaishnavi and Vartika. Our full sympathy and affection is with the family,” he added.

Responding to a question, the Congress leader alleged that though big promises were made to the family of Vishal Pandey, those remain unfulfilled.

“This clearly indicates the Modi-Yogi government neither has respect nor sympathy for the martyrs,” he added.

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