Home Minister Amit Shah today targeted the Congress and Rahul Gandhi over the centre’s “historic” decision on Jammu and Kashmir at an election rally in Mumbai, declaring that while the BJP had fought for “one nation, one Prime Minister and one constitution”, the Congress had tried to play politics over an issue of national security. “Congress sees this as political issue, we see it as nationalism,” Amit Shah declared. In strongly-worded comments the Home Minister also said the Congress viewed Article 370 as vote bank politics, while the BJP saw it as patriotism.
“Every citizen used to say Kashmir was (an) integral part, but why was it said? Because for Kashmir Article 370 was (an) obstacle. But now I can proudly say that Kashmir is an integral part of India because there is no Article 370 or Article 35A,” Amit Shah told the gathered crowd.
“I congratulate PM Modi’s bravery and grit. He removed Article 370 & 35A in the very first session of the Parliament as soon as we formed the government for the second time,” he said, adding, “To Rahul Gandhi, I would like to say our 3 generations fought to remove 370. It is not a political issue like you think”.
Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana are scheduled to take place on October 21, the Election Commission said on Saturday. Nearly 11 crore people across the two states will cast their votes with results to be declared on October 24.
This will be the first election since the centre’s contentious decision to withdraw special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and the BJP has made it clear it will highlight the issue, which was one of its key promises in national polls in April-May, in both states.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already set the tone in that regard, raising the issue at election rallies in Nashik in Mahrashtra and Rohtak in Haryana, where he spoke of his vision for Jammu and Kashmir – one that embraces Kashmir and recreates it as the “paradise” it once was.
Amit Shah looked to continue that line of thought in Mumbai today and raised the spectre of cross-border terrorism, something he referenced during his speech in parliament last month. Mr Shah said Article 370 had brought terrorism into the country and demanded to know why, in that case, the Congress was against the centre’s decision.
“Article 370 brought terrorism into the country… Kashmiri Pandits, Sufi saints were expelled… terrorism reached its peak and so far, nearly 40,000 people were killed. And the Congress asks why 370 was removed,” he said.
On August 5, Amit Shah led the centre in announcing the withdrawal of special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, which was a key election promise for the BJP during national polls in April-May.
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