Article 370, 35A to be BJP’s plank in Maharashtra polls
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief and Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday made it clear that Article 370 and 35A, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and special rights to its residents and which were repealed by the Centre, will be among the central poll planks for the party in the Maharashtra Assembly polls in October.
Shah, who addressed a party rally at Solapur in western Maharashtra that marked the conclusion of the second phase of chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis’ Mahajanadesh yatra, challenged both Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar to make their stance on Kashmir clear. “All of you are saying that we did the right thing (by abrogating Article 370 and 35A) but Rahul baba and Sharad rao are beating their chests and crying over this. I want to ask them to make their stance on whether they support repeal of Article 370 and 35A clear before all of Maharashtra ahead of elections because the people want to know this,’’ said Shah.
In his first visit and speech in Maharashtra after the Lok Sabha polls, Shah also said no Prime Minister had the guts like Narendra Modi in the last 70 years to repeal Article 370. “Rahul Gandhi gave a statement that BJP did not do the right thing and there is violence in Kashmir. Let me tell you, there has not been a single bullet, tear gas or death in Kashmir since August 5 and 6 when we abrogated article 370. His statement is being used by Pakistan, it is being used by Pakistan foreign minister in his petition to UN. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi, which country he is speaking for ?... even Supriya Sule (NCP MP and daughter of Sharad Pawar) was there, she has voted against 370,’’ Shah added. He also indicated that BJP-Sena would contest the polls together and said Fadnavis would be the CM if the saffron alliance came to power.
Meanwhile, CM Fadnavis in his speech appropriated Sardar Vallabhai Patel and referred to Shah as ‘Sardar Amit Shah’ for taking an iron stance over the Kashmir issue.
Opposition leaders join BJP
Former NCP MP from Kolhapur Dhananjay Mahadik, NCP MLA from Osmanabad Ranajagjit Sinh Patil and Congress MLA from Mann (Satara) joined the BJP in the presence of Shah at the rally. Senior BJP leaders said another lot was likely to be inducted on September 7, when PM Modi is expected to visit the city.