Amit Shah talks Kashmir in Maharashtra; Rajnath slams Pak over terror
Two senior ministers of the Narendra Modi government on Sunday talked about the Kashmir issue as they led the BJP’s campaign in the poll-bound states of Maharashtra and Haryana respectively.
In Kolhapur, Union home minister Amit Shah praised Prime Minister Modi for abrogating Article 370, saying the previous governments never had the courage shown by the “man with 56-inch chest” in integrating J&K with the mainstream.
“After people of the country 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,” Shah 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 Congress-NCP regime in Maharashtra, 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.
“During 15 years of the Congress-NCP regime, the state’s ranking came below 15. But, under the Fadnavis government, the state has managed to gain its ranking and in all these fields, the state is among the top five,” he said.
Meanwhile, touring Haryana, defence minister Rajnath Singh asked Pakistan, “with utter politeness” to change its way of thinking. Amid tensions between India and Pakistan following the abrogation of Article 370 in August, Singh asked the neighbouring country to forget Kashmir and fight an “honest battle” against terrorism, warning that no power could stop its disintegration if it continued with its rant and did not mend its ways.
He added that India was ready to assist Pakistan in the fight against terrorism if it couldn’t do so on its own, but added that Islamabad’s intentions were deceitful. Singh also hit out at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for saying he will continue to raise Kashmir issue on international forums, despite India warning that it was an internal matter. “Don’t even think about Kashmir. You have paid the price. In 1947, you divided India into two because of two-nation theory.... In 1971, Pakistan got divided into two,” he said.
“Pakistan should stop its Kashmir rant. Kashmir was, is and will be integral part of India and no power in the world can separate it from us,” he said.
Addressing poll rallies in Haryana’s Pataudi and Chief Minister M L Khattar’s home district Karnal, Singh also slammed the Congress for criticising him on doing “shastra puja” of the Rafale jet on Dussehra, saying the remarks by the opposition party emboldened Pakistan.
He asked why Congress was objecting to “Om” being written on the aircraft. “Pakistan is our neighbour. (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee ji used to say a neighbour is a neighbour. Friends change in one’s life but neighbour does not. And, therefore, relations with neighbours should be maintained. He went with a message of peace and friendship to Lahore, but what did we get in return — Kargir War (in 1999),” Singh said.
At another poll rally in Karnal, Singh defended performing ‘shastra puja’ on Rafale aircraft. “I wrote ‘Om’ on it, broke a coconut (as per tradition), tied a ‘raksha bandhan’ around the plane. But Congress raked up a controversy, saying we have become communal. They have objection to even ‘Om’,” Singh said.
“Is ‘Om’ not written in your homes? Sikh brethren sitting here, I want to ask do they not chant Ek Onkar,” the senior BJP leader said.