Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for abrogating Article 370, saying the previous governments never had the courage shown by the “man with 56-inch chest” in integrating Jammu and Kashmir with India’s mainstream.
Addressing an election rally in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district, he said people should 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.
He said during the UPA rule, terrorists 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 terrorists 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. Speaking on the devastating floods in Kolhapur and Sangli after heavy rains in August, he assured people that the Centre and the state government will transform both the districts and make them even better and more beautiful.
He said during the previous Congress-NCP regime, Rs 70,000 crore was spent on irrigation, but not a single drop of water reached any village.
“But Devendra Fadnavis, after taking charge as the chief minister (of BJP-led government), spent just Rs 9,000 crore and with the help of the ‘Jalyukta Shivar’ (water conservation) scheme, over 11,000 villages were irrigated,” he said.
Shah alleged that there was corruption during the Congress-NCP coalition government in Maharashtra.
He asked NCP chief Sharad Pawar what Maharashtra received during the previous UPA rule. Before the Congress-NCP’s rule, Maharashtra topped charts in every field, be it agriculture, mill production, industry or education, he said.
“During 15 years of the Congress-NCP regime, the state’s ranking came below 15. But, during the present Fadnavis government, the state has managed to gain its ranking and in all these fields, the state is in the first five,” he said.
Shah appealed to people to once again vote the Fadnavis government to power so that the state can become no. 1 in every field.
He said the government was planning to set up an IT park in Kolhapur. “By giving Rs 450 crore, the state government made Kolhapur toll free (by shutting down toll plazas and waiving off charges),” he said.
“Besides, the Kolhapur airport was reopened, sugarcane cultivators were given subsidy, railway line works were under progress and the Kolhapuri chappals got the geographical indication (GI) tag,” he added.