Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a rally at Nashik in poll-bound Maharashtra, heaped praises on the Devendra Fadnavis-led government, castigated Opposition parties for 'politicising' the Centre's actions and exhorted people to respect the ongoing Supreme Court proceedings in the Ayodhya dispute.
In the 'Mahajanadesh' rally, Modi launched the BJP's campaign for the Maharashtra election, which is expected to be held next month.
Kashmir suffered due to Congress' wrong policies, says PM
On the decision of revoking provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said this was the wish of 130 crore Indians. "The decision has been taken to save the Kashmiris from the cycle of violence, terror and separatism. They suffered for 40 years due to Delhi's (previous Congress-led governments) wrong policies and 42,000 people were killed," he said.
The decision to revoke provisions under Article 370 was a decision for the unity of India, Modi said. He added, "Till yesterday, we used to say that Kashmir is ours. Now, every Indian will say that we have to create a new Kashmir; we must embrace Kashmiris and create paradise there again."
Taking a swipe at the Opposition, Modi said that instead of supporting the government on the decision taken in national interest, they are making comments for their selfish political interests.
"At a time when the country is united over the decision on Kashmir, Congress and NCP leaders have not cooperated," he said.
Without naming Rahul Gandhi, Modi said the Congress leaders are making comments which are being used by other countries and terror outfits against India.
Modi added, "I can understand the confusion of the Congress. But Sharad Pawar? I feel bad when an experienced leader like him makes wrong statements for votes. He said he likes the neighbouring country. But every one knows where the terror factory is."
On 15 September, at an event organised by the NCP's minority cell in Mumbai, Pawar had launched a veiled attack on the saffron party and said that "some people" in India were saying that Pakistanis were unhappy, but that "these things are being said only for political gains without understanding the actual situation in Pakistan."
'Fadnavis provided stability, harmony'
The prime minister said that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ran a stable government that was committed to Maharashtra's interests, although the BJP did not have a majority on its own.
"Fadnavis provided a stable government with a push for development of the state. He worked with complete dedication. It is now Maharashtra's turn to make use of his leadership qualities," Modi said.
The remarks are an indication that Fadnavis will be the chief minister if BJP and allies get a second term. Earlier, there was confusion about the NDA's nominee for the post, as the Shiv Sena had also made some statements laying claim to the top post if the alliance wins a majority. On 20 June, an editorial in the Shiv Sena's mouthpiece 'Saamana' had asserted, "We have to resolve to turn the next Vidhan Sabha 'saffron' and ensure that a Shiv Sena chief minister will be seated on the dais at the party's 54th foundation day next year."
Modi, lauding Fadnavis in his rally on Thursday, said, "For the first time in 60 years, a government has returned to power with much more numbers. When people give the government the strength, the government can work better. See the 100 days performance (of BJP-led Central government). Are you happy," he asked.
In Maharashtra, only Fadnavis and the late Vasantrao (Naik of Congress) provided stable governments, the prime minister said. "The land of Phule, Ambedkar, Shivaji did not see a stable government for five consecutive years previously," he lamented.
Modi said Fadnavis had provided political stability, social harmony, law and order opportunities for investment, better facilities for farmers and ensured benefits of Central schemes for people of the state.
PM slams 'loudmouths' on Ayodhya dispute
During the rally, Modi said the Supreme Court is hearing the Ram Mandir case and asked "some loudmouths" to refrain from making statements on the issue.
"I am amazed at the 'bayan bahadurs and badbole' (loudmouths) on the Ram Mandir issue. Every one in the country respects the Supreme Court. The apex court is hearing the case. I want to tell these people with folded hands " for the sake of Lord Ram, have faith in the judicial system," he said.
The Shiv Sena has been demanding the construction of the Ram temple and asking the Modi government to take steps in that direction like it did on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Monday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had urged the Centre to introduce a law to build a Ram temple and had said, "We expect that the Centre should not wait for court order and should use its powers. The Centre took a courageous step in abrogating Article 370. It is our request that the Centre should do the same for Ram Mandir issue."
With inputs from PTI