Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah came down heavily on his party's former alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir, the Peoples Democratic Party, indicating that the BJP has started early preparations for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Shah, who flew to Jammu on Saturday to commemorate the death anniversary of party ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee, said the BJP had patiently waited for four years, but the Mehbooba Mufti-led government did not implement any of the programmes framed by the central government. He claimed that sanctioning funds and schemes is the Centre's duty, but their proper implementation is the state government's responsibility.
He also accused the PDP of meting out biased treatment to Jammu and Ladakh. "Many people ask us why we withdrew support to the PDP, and I know my answer can create controversies. I must say we entered the alliance with the PDP for balanced development of all three regions, but the state government failed to keep this promise," Shah claimed.
"The future of Jammu's children was being played with... The PDP stalled all progress for them. No financial help was extended to Jammu despite the Centre sanctioning Rs 80,000 crore for its development," Shah said.
He also said that the BJP wanted equal development in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, but the PDP was not interested in forwarding plans that were in the interest of the Jammu region.
"The truth is that the PDP was not interested in sharing resources for Jammu... It even refused to give land to set up an AIIMS in Jammu. We had announced establishing five medical colleges in Jammu and Kashmir, of which three were in Jammu. In all other places, academic sessions have started, but the formalities of the colleges in the Jammu region have yet to be completed," Shah said. "How could we have stayed part of such a government?"
Shah lauds Mookerjee, says party ideologue shed blood for unity of Kashmir
The BJP president also launched a book on the life of Mookerjee, and said that he was 'killed' because he opposed the implementation of Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The saffron party chief also said that Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India due to the efforts of the Jana Sangh founder, as he reasserted his own party's commitment to keep the nation's territorial integrity intact.
"We will never allow Kashmir to get disintegrated from India. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country," Shah told a rally to mark "historic martyrdom anniversary" of Mookerjee.
He said Mookerjee laid down his life to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the country along with Praja Parishad's movement. Asserting that Mookerjee is an inspiration for the people and BJP activists across the country, Shah said he endangered his life and later sacrificed it in a bid to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India.
Shah said that the Mookherjee had watered the roots of the state's integration with India with his own blood.
Mookerjee, who died while in custody in Jammu and Kashmir as he vehemently opposed the special status to Kashmir, was the founder of Jana Sangh which subsequently became the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Shah also said that public pressure after Mookherjee's death ensured that people did not need a permit to visit the Valley and the state did not have a separate prime minister.
He also praised the Praja Parishad and its movement for the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. "Praja Parishad was the first national movement of independent India. It ensured integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India," Shah said.
'Rahul Gandhi should apologise for Soz and Azad's comments'
Shah also came down heavily on the Congress party, two of whose leaders made controversial statements on Kashmir this week.
Lambasting the party for changing its stance according to its convenience, Shah said that the Congress was a party that talked of Kashmir as an inseparable part of India when in power. However, it changed its stance after being forced to sit in the Opposition, he said.
Shah quoted a statement by Soz that he agreed with Musharraf on the Kashmir issue.
Shah, however, reserved more bitter words for veteran Congressman and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. While the Congress sought to distance itself from Soz's comments, it sought to justify the statements made by Azad.
Shah, who reached the winter capital this morning for a day-long trip, also sought an apology from Rahul Gandhi and stern action against Azad and Soz.
He said, “I can’t even bring myself to repeat his comments. His statement was supported by Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Congress president must explain this special frequency match between his party and the terrorist group to the nation,” Shah said.
Shah said that it was unfortunate that a senior politician and the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha came up with such comments.
Earlier on Saturday, Shah reviewed the party's preparations and strategy for the Lok Sabha elections due next year. This was his first visit to the state after the saffron party withdrew from a coalition government with the PDP in the state.
The BJP chief was accorded a rousing reception, with the party's youth wing taking out a bike rally from the airport to the state guest house.
"The BJP president chaired several meetings and reviewed organisational functioning and preparations for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and its strategy," a senior BJP leader told PTI. Shah also chaired the party's election committee meeting to discuss the issues for the next election, he added.
The top leadership of the party's state unit briefed the BJP chief about the political situation after Governor's Rule was imposed in the state on Wednesday. They briefed him about the party's upcoming programmes in the state in view of the 2019 elections and also updated him about the current programmes in the state.
Shah's public address assumes significance, given the evolving political situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the BJP-PDP alliance came to an end. The tie-up was termed the coming together of the north and south poles by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who had first agreed to the move.
The BJP president was accompanied by state unit chief Ravinder Raina and other senior leaders at the programmes he attended.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jun 23, 2018 20:40 PM