Union Home Minister Amit Shah, addressing poll rallies in Maharashtra's Sangli and Solapur districts, targetted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar for opposing the Centre's decision to abrogate the special status conferred upon Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
Shah claimed that Rahul Gandhi said a "river of blood" was flowing in Kashmir, but "not a single bullet" was fired.
"These people ran a false campaign in the country and across the world following the scrapping of Article 370, saying it will lead to problems," Shah said at the rally.
Slamming the Congress-NCP for opposing the Centre's move on scrapping Article 370 for their alleged politics of votebank and appeasement, Shah demanded both leaders to clarify whether they were for or against it.
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"I want to ask why did you oppose the proposal when the entire country wanted Kashmir to be an integral part of India. Because you wanted to play politics of vote bank, of appeasement. I want to ask Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and NCP chief Sharadraoji Pawar, Sharadraoji should tell the people of Maharashtra whether you are in favour of scrapping Article 370 or not?" Shah asked.
The Union Home Minister, who was campaigning for the Saffron party ahead of the state polls on October 21, claimed that the Congress-NCP combine have already conceded defeat and urged people to reelect the BJP-Sena alliance. He also took a dig at Pawar, asking him to shed light on what the earlier Congress-NCP governments had done for the people of the state.
Hailing Narendra Modi government's "great job" of integrating India by revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said, "After becoming prime minister again, Modiji brought a historic proposal in Parliament...he did a great job of abrogating Article 370 and 35A from Kashmir...Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's dream of an integrated India stands fulfilled today." He lauded the Prime Minister for strengthening India's image across the world and added that BJP gives priority to the nation's interest, underscoring the difference between his party and the Congress on national security.
Emphasising further on national security, Shah said Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first to congratulate former Prime minister Indira Gandhi on India's victory against Pakistan in the 1971 war. "We were in opposition, but for us nation's interest was before the party's interest. But you are opposing the scrapping Article 370, surgical strike and Air Force's strike in Balakot," he said.
Attacking Pakistan over raising Kashmir issue at world forums, Shah said, “Prime Minister Modi recently returned from the UN, and the entire world is standing by his decision to abrogate Article 370. On the other hand, Pakistan stands alone in a corner.” He drew parallels between Pakistan's stance on Kashmir with that of Rahul Gandhi's and added: "Rahul Gandhi demanded evidences of surgical strike, so did Pakistan. Rahul Gandhi and Pakistan opposed scrapping of Article 370. I fail to understand why Pakistan and Rahul Gandhi are on the same lines."
-with agency inputs from PTI