Declare in manifesto you will bring back Art 370, Modi dares Opposition

Maharashtra Assembly elections, Narendra Modi, Devendra Fadnavis
The scheme, launched in September 2018, aims to provide healthcare to 10 crore poor and lower middle income families through a health insurance plan. Photo: PTI File.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (October 13) dared the Opposition parties, the Congress and the NCP, to declare in their manifesto that they will restore Article 370 and bring back the provisions that gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status.

The prime minister was addressing his first rally ahead of the October 21 Assembly elections in Maharashtra. Besides, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too addressed a gathering on Sunday in poll-bound state’s Latur district, in view of the Assembly polls.

Speaking at the rally in Jalgaon, Modi said that Jammu and Kashmir was “not just a parcel of land, but crown of India,” and assured that the situation there will be normalised in not more than four months, reported news agency PTI.

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Further, accusing the opposition parties of politicising the Kashmir issue, the prime minister said that they were “speaking on the same lines as that of the neighbouring country”, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.

Attacking the Congress and the NCP, Modi said it was “unfortunate” that they were “politicising” the “unprecedented” decision of scrapping of Article 370. Their leaders thought exactly opposite of what the entire nation feels about Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

“I challenge them (opposition parties), if they have guts, declare in their manifesto for state election and future polls too, that they will bring back Article 370 and 35A, which the BJP, the Modi government scrapped,” Modi was quoted as saying. “Stop shedding these crocodile tears,” he further hit out at them.

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Wondering whether bringing back Article 370 will be acceptable to people, the prime minister said the opposition parties will have no future if they were to do so.

Meanwhile, Modi also lavished praise on the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government for its five-year performance, which he said, was “corruption-free” and inspired confidence among all, including farmers and industries.

Further, he said there was “no difference” between what the BJP-led government preached and practised. He also hit out at the opposition over the issue of banning triple talaq, alleging they tried to see Muslim sisters did not get justice.

“But, I kept the promise made to Muslim mothers and sisters,” he said, and also challenged the opposition “to bring back the practice of triple talaq.”

Media, Modi, Shah distracting people from core issues: Rahul

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who too was in the poll-bound state on Sunday, accused Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the media of distracting people’s attention from core issues.

Speaking at a rally at Ausa in Latur district, Gandhi said when the youth ask for jobs, the government tells them to watch the moon, in an apparent reference to ISRO’s recent lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2.

Gandhi also took a jibe at Modi’s recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, seeking to know whether he asked the latter about 2017 Doklam standoff. Gandhi was referring to the alleged incursion of Chinese troops into the Indian territory in 2017. He further alleged that ₹5.5 lakh crore debt of “15 rich people” was waived off by the Modi government.

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“The work of media, Modi and Shah is to distract people’s attention from core issues. The media is silent on farmers’ distress and lack of jobs. The media is mum on loan waiver to rich as it is owned by them,” he alleged.

He further said that the objective of demonetisation, and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was to take money from pockets of the poor and give it to the rich. The former Congress president also raked up the Rafale issue during his speech on Sunday.

Meanwhile, NCP president Sharad Pawar, while addressing a poll rally in Chalisgaon, said that the BJP has lost sleep as the youngsters were gearing up to defeat the ruling party in Maharashtra.

(With inputs from agencies)