On the last day of campaigning before the 21 October Assembly polls in Haryana and Maharashtra, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday pulled out all stops and sharpened its attack on the Congress over the party's alleged failure in policies, especially those related to Jammu and Kashmir.
Narendra Modi attacks Congress, says wrong policies and strategy destroyed nation
Speaking at rallies in Haryana's Sirsa and Rewari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Congress for not abrogating Article 370, which he said was a temporary provision of the Constitution.
At Sirsa, he claimed that the Congress had not made any "honest efforts" to find a meaningful solution to the Kashmir issue for 70 years, and as a result, innocent people kept dying in Jammu and Kashmir even as the jawans sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of citizens. He also accused the Congress of opposing the abrogation of Article 370 ever since the BJP government took the step.
"The wrong policies and strategy of the Congress have destroyed the nation," he said, stressing that it was people of India and Kashmir who will frame policies now.
Modi also said that the Kartarpur corridor, which links the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak in Pakistan, with Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur, was nearing completion. The Centre had been making arrangements to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikhism founder in a grand manner, he added while hitting out at the Congress for "separating Sikh devotees from their guru".
"The inability to bring the Kartarpur gurdwara within the Indian territory was a mistake made during the Partition," he said. "But the Congress and those parties connected with their culture, never gave respect to the belief, tradition and culture of the Indians. What has been the Congress' approach towards our holy places? The same they had towards Jammu and Kashmir," he added.
Claiming that a demand for the abolition of Article 370 had been raised during a debate in the Parliament in 1964, he said the Congress had refused to discuss it. "At that time, Congress leaders, with folded hands, had said that their demand would be met and Article 370 would be nullified in one year. But the matter was again put on the back burner," said Modi while addressing his second rally of the day at Rewari.
He also spoke about the steps taken to bolster the armed forces through modernised weapons and bulletproof jackets and said that a sum of Rs 900 crore was given to around two lakh ex-soldiers in Haryana under the OROP scheme implemented by the BJP government.
He attacked the Opposition party, claiming that it did not build any memorials for jawans and policemen who sacrificed their lives for the nation for 70 years. Only the BJP government built such memorials for them, he said.
Amit Shah reiterates Article 370 challenge to Congress, says Modi government working for tribal welfare and development
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah led the charge in Maharashtra and addressed a rally at Navapur in the tribal-dominated Nandurbar district. He reiterated the party's challenge to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to declare that his party will restore provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power.
He said that development in Jammu and Kashmir came to standstill due to Article 370, and Pakistan created terror in the state leading to the loss of 40,000 lives. The Congress, he said was worried about its vote bank and not about the national interest. "No prime minister ever dared to take the decision. It was Modi with his 56-inch chest who made the move," he said.
"Rahul Gandhi asks what is the connection between Article 370 and Maharashtra. I dare him to declare that if voted to power, his party would restore the provisions of Article 370. There is still one day to go for the assembly elections. See how the people will react. Don't you want Kashmir to be an integral part of India?" the Union minister asked.
Asserting that Nandurbar will be as a premier tribal district in the next five years, he said that the district was one of the 115 districts under the Modi government's tribal development policy.
Shah listed the memorials for tribal freedom fighters and Eklavya model schools among the development works being undertaken by the state government and the Centre for tribal welfare.
Claiming that the BJP has the highest number of MLAs belonging to the tribal and Other Backward Classes (OBC) community, he alleged that the Congress did not do anything for the welfare of OBCs in 55 years.
Shah also trained guns at former prime minister Manmohan Singh for his silence over the killing of soldiers and praised Modi for the decision to carry out the surgical strike after Uri terror attack.
While Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a roadshow in Nagpur, actor and former Congress MP Govinda campaigned in Buldhana for Chainsukh Madanlal Sancheti, BJP's candidate from Malkapur Assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, Mathura MP Hema Malini and Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol campaigned for the BJP candidates fielded in Haryana.
Assembly elections in both the states will be held on 21 October while the counting of votes will take place on 24 October.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 19, 2019 19:30:23 IST