Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Friday hit out at his Congress counterpart Rahul Gandhi for his silence on National Conference leader Omar Abullah’s recent comment that Jammu and Kashmir should have a separate prime minister once again.
At a rally earlier this month, Abdullah had said that “by the grace of god” his state would one day bring back the posts of prime minister and Sadar-i-Riyasat (head of state). The designations were in 1965 changed to chief minister and governor respectively.
Addressing a rally at Odisha’s Keonjhar district, Shah said, “Is it possible to have two prime ministers in a country? Can there be a second prime minister in Kashmir?...Rahul Baba [Gandhi] is silent on his ally Abdullah’s suggestion. He has not uttered a word.”
Shah said that no one can separate Kashmir from India. “As long as the BJP exists, Kashmir will be a part of India,” he said.
The comment comes shortly after the BJP, in its election manifesto released on Monday, said that it would abrogate Section 370 of the Constitution that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The northern state’s leaders have criticised the move and have said that it could end Jammu and Kashmir’s association with India.
Shah further claimed that while the rest of the country was rejoicing after the Indian Air Force strikes on terror camps Balakot on February 26, Congress was in mourning. “Rahul Baba did not like it [the strike],” he said. “They advocate dialogue with terrorists. Should we talk to terrorists or bomb them? If Pakistan fires bullets at us, we will retaliate with bombs.” National security was of paramount importance to the BJP, he added.
Shah also claimed that Biju Janata Dal’s Naveen Patnaik, who has been Odisha’s chief minister since 2000, has failed to alleviate poverty in the state despite its rich land and mineral resources.
At another rally in Rajnandgaon district in Chhatisgarh, Shah alleged a political conspiracy in the April 9 suspected Maoist attack in Dantewada that killed BJP MLA Bheema Mandavi and four others. He said that the Central Bureau of Investigation should look into the incident.
According to the police, suspected Naxals triggered an improvised explosive device when Mandavi’s convoy was passing through the area after campaigning for the elections in Bastar, which voted on Thursday, the first phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.
“As details of Mandavi’s killing come out, [it seems that] this is not an ordinary incident,” Shah said on Friday. It smells of a political conspiracy. If the chief minister [Bhupesh Baghel of the Congress] does not have anything to hide, he should get the incident probed by the CBI.”