Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday attacked the Congress and its former president Rahul Gandhi on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, accusing them of playing politics on a question involving “national security”.
Terming the move to revoke Article 370 of the constitution, scrapping Kashmir’s special status as a “historic decision,” Shah said while the Bharatiya Janata Party had struggled “one nation, one prime minister and one constitution”, the opposition party was indulging in politicising an issue involving the nation’s security.
“The Congress views it as political issue, but we consider this as nationalism,” Shah, who is also the BJP national president, said.
The minister also accused India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru of agreeing to an “untimely ceasefire” in 1947 which paved the way for the creation of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
“I congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for showing the courage and grit in scrapping Article 370 & 35A in the very first session of parliament after we formed the government for the second time,” Shah said.
“I want to inform Rahul Gandhi that our three generations have struggled to strike down Article 370. So, it is not some political issue like you may believe. Keeping it alive was a political issue for the Congress, but for the BJP it was a matter of the country’s unity and integrity, a dream made true by Modi.
Shah was speaking at a meeting of party activists to explain to them the importance of revoking Article 370, which would be a major BJP poll plank for the October 21 Maharashtra assembly elections.
Maharashtra and Haryana are the first two states going to elections after the Article 370 was revoked and the BJP hopes to test the public sentiments on it during the campaign.
Last week, addressing a rally in Nashik, Modi urged the people of Maharashtra to “help make Kashmir a paradise again” and embrace all Kashmiris who now want only ‘vikas’ (development).
Shah took a jibe at Gandhi, saying that politics cannot be played on serious matters of national interest.
He advised the Congress leader to study Indian history to realise how correct decisions are taken on such grave issues.
Kickstarting the party’s polls campaign, Shah expressed optimism that the BJP-led alliance would return to power in Maharashtra with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the helm again.
Meanwhile, the BJP has asked its MPs, state legislators and leaders in Uttar Pradesh to participate in a mass contact campaign to inform people in the state about the decision to revoke Article 370.
The programme will begin on Wednesday which is the birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and will continue until Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.
Shah, who addressed the Uttar Pradesh MPs, MLAs and other leaders via video-conferencing on Saturday, has asked them to explain to the people about the historic move and demolish the misconceptions.
Shah also announced that a Gandhi Sampark Yatra would be launched on October 2 by the prime minister after paying tribute at the Gandhi Samadhi.
“The main agenda will be to spread Gandhiji’s message of swadeshi, swaraj, swachhta, khadi and simplicity. On October 2, all office-bearers will have to cover a 2km stretch in their constituencies and inform people about the ban on single-use plastic,” Shah said.
At the meeting, attended by state BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, party workers were also asked to undertake marches, carry out plantations, cleanliness drives, address press conferences and visit homes in their respective constituencies.
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