Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday challenged the Opposition to declare in their manifesto they would bring back Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir its special constitutional status, The Indian Express reported. He made the remark at a rally in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district almost a week before Assembly elections in the state.

“Can these leaders, who are trying to fool the people with their crocodile tears, bring back Article 370 in Kashmir?” Modi asked. “Will the people of India allow them to? Opposition seems to be speaking on lines of a neighbouring country on this.” He claimed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir would be back to normal in the next four months.

Jammu and Kashmir was “not just a parcel of land, but the crown of India”, PTI quoted Modi as saying.

The prime minister said the Opposition was also shocked by the work done by his administration in the last five years. He said the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government was “corruption-free” and inspired confidence among all sections of the society.

Modi also criticised Opposition parties for their stance against the anti-triple talaq law that makes the practice of instant divorce in the Muslim community a punishable offence. “But, I kept the promise made to Muslim mothers and sisters,” he said, and challenged the parties “to bring back the practice of triple talaq”.

In a reference to Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Modi said he was shocked to see a video of “a prominent leader” who “got angry and hit a man with his elbow who was standing next to him on stage”. The prime minister said the man had tried to garland Pawar and take a photo.

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