KOLHAPUR – Further sharpening the BJP’s narrative for Maharashtra assembly polls on nationalism, BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday praised the “man with 56-inch chest” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi for nullifying Article 370 and integrating Jammu and Kashmir with the mainstream.
Addressing an election rally in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district, he said the previous governments never had the courage shown by Modi.
He appealed to people to ask Congress and NCP leaders, when they come to seek votes, whether they support the NDA government’s decision to abrogate the provisions that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
He targeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar for questioning the government’s move to abrogate Article 370.
“After people of the country and Maharashtra voted him for the second term, Modiji did something for which the entire country was waiting for 70 years…he abrogated Article 370 on August 5 and joined Jammu and Kashmir with the country’s mainstream,” Shah said.
Shah said since the days of Jan Sangh, they have been hearing that there cannot be two prime ministers, there cannot be two symbols and two constitutions, but “it was the Congress which, by imposing Article 370, stopped the process of integrating Jammu and Kashmir with India for several years”.
“As a result, thousands of our people lost their lives due to terrorism, but still there was no intention of any party to remove Article 370,” he said.
“Several governments came and went, several prime ministers came and went, no one had the courage to abrogate Article 370. But, the man with the 56-inch chest scrapped it in one go,” Shah said.
Shah also hit back at NCP chief Sharad Pawar who has questionned the BJP top brass for raising the issue of scrapping of Article 370 in the Maharashtra polls.
“….What is the relation between the abrogation (of Art 370) and the Maharashtra state? I would like to ask people of Karad and Satara, don’t you love Kashmir, is the state is not an integral part of India. Instead of feeling ashamed, these people (Opposition) are asking what big work the government has done by its moves on Kashmir,” he said.
Shah said Udayanraje Bhosale, former NCP MP from Satara and BJP candidate for the Lok Sabha bypoll, joined the saffron party on the issue of Article 370.
He said during the UPA rule, militants from Pakistan used to infiltrate and kill Indian soldiers.
“They used to decapitate our soldiers, but the then prime minister ‘Mouni baba’ Manmohan Singh never used to utter a single word. But after the Uri and Pulwama attacks, Modiji showed the courage of killing militants in their den through surgical strike and air strikes,” he said.
He further hit out at the opposition over the government’s decision to ban the practice of triple talaq.
“When we banned triple talaq, they opposed,” he said.
He reiterated that all intruders will be driven out of the country through National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise before 2024.
Shah later conducted a road show in Shirur in Pune district.