Union minister Smriti Irani said the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration never gave voting rights to Pakistani refugees, who have pride in the Indian flag. “Ask the refugees the pride (they) felt in hoisting the national flag,” Irani said while campaigning for the local body DDC elections, referring to rival Mehbooba Mufti’s comments of not hoisting the Indian flag unless Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and flag are restored.
Irani added: “When the Gupkar gang had power, they never gave the right to vote to the refugees. But Prime Minister Modi understood that the families who chose Hindustan over Pakistan should get the right to go and vote…These parties (Gupkar gang) don’t unite when the people need them.”
The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which gives voting rights to persecuted religious minorities, who are from neighbouring countries and are living in India, was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, which grants special status to the state.
The Gupkar Alliance is a coalition of local parties of Jammu and Kashmir. They came together to put pressure to restore the state’s special status granted under the Constitution. The parties are now contesting the eight-phase DDC local body elections, which are the first to be held in J&K after the reorganisation of the state last year in August and after the BJP ended its ruling alliance with Mufti in 2018.
The BJP and the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, formed by an alliance of political leaders Farooq Abdullah, Mufti, and Sajjad Lone.
The BJP call the coalition the “Gupkar gang” and have accused them of being “anti-national”, after Farooq Abdullah’s speech in parliament in September advocating talks with Pakistan. The BJP has also accused them of involving “foreign forces to intervene” in abrogating Article 370.