The Opposition on Thursday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on the government’s decisions regarding Jammu and Kashmir lacked conviction. The Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other hand, called his speech a historic and inspirational one.
“What the Prime Minister has said is a repetition of what Home Minister Amit Shah has said,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma told PTI. “That can hardly be reassuring for the people of Jammu and Kashmir...It lacks any conviction and logic, which would be reassuring the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir about the respect of their fundamental rights.”
Sharma also criticised the intense security clampdown in the region prior to the announcement of the Centre’s proposals. He urged the government to relax the restrictions, including a complete suspension of communication services, imposed in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Sharma’s party colleague Abhishek Singhvi said the nation as a whole should support the prime minister. “PM Modi’s speech meant rightly mainly for JK inhabitants; once Parliament has passed what it has, the country must remain united behind it; despite different views (eg I found it legally flawed) but the decision must be supported as a nation; hope confidence and faith must be imparted to all in JK and Ladakh,” he tweeted.
Communist Party of India General Secretary D Raja agreed with Sharma, and said the speech was rhetorical. “What stopped him from giving a statement in Parliament?” he asked “This shows that, as rulers, this government only wants to address its subjects. In fact, what he said was full of excuses, as if he isn’t himself convinced.”
He also wondered how scrapping the special status will help. “He said UT status is temporary, go ask him, what is temporary?” he said. “It was all rhetoric and excuses for his government’s move.”
BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the prime minister reached out to Kashmiris with messages of hope and optimism. “During his address to the nation this evening, PM Narendra Modi has shared his vision and commitment for the development of the people of J&K and Ladakh region,” Shah tweeted. “The peace, prosperity and welfare of these regions is the top most priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
He added that a peaceful and prosperous J&K and Ladakh is what every Indian wants. “The people of J&K and Ladakh have always been betrayed and deprived of development in the name of Article 370 by those who ruled the state for the past seven decades. But now by the abrogation of Article 370, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put an end to this injustice,” he tweeted.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Modi’s speech was historic. “Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh is soon going to witness unprecedented growth and development creating better opportunities for people of the regions,” he said in a tweet.
BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav said Modi in his speech focussed on human development, political empowerment and good governance. “Called upon countrymen including Bollywood, IT industry, business houses and all citizens to come forward to help Kashmiris progress and prosper,” he added.