New Delhi: The BJP hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "inspiring" address to the nation on his government's action on Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, but the opposition Congress said it was "hardly reassuring" for the people and lacked conviction.
BJP president and Union Home Minister said the prime minister shared his vision and commitment for the development of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region and and urged them "to be a part of this historic journey".
Reaching out to Kashmiris with messages of hope and optimism, the prime minister in a televised address to the nation assured them of all-round development, early and transparent elections and end to terrorism as he defended scrapping of Article 370, which he asserted, has only given separatism, corruption, family rule and was used by Pakistan as a tool to spread terror in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a series of tweets, Shah said, "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. The peace, prosperity and welfare of these regions is the top most priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
"PM narendra modi has urged the people of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh, especially youth, to be a part of this historic journey and walk together for a greater cause. 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.
"Right to Education, Minimum Wages Act, Minority Act, social reservation for the disempowered, corruption free governance, development of J&K and Ladakh is the least that people of these regions, which should have been their right, will get after this historic decision of PM Modi," he added.
Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India was voluntary and the political leadership endorsed the decision.
"What the Prime Minister has said is a repetition of what Home Minister Amit Shah has said. 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," he told PTI.
Sharma said India, being the largest democracy in the world, should have had self-confidence by not denying the people their fundamental rights and liberties in J-K.
Sharma also said that the bifurcation of the state and its downgrading is without any precedent in the history of India. He said there is a clampdown in the entire region and it should be lifted.
His party colleague Abhishek Singhvi, however, said the nation as a whole should support the prime minister and hoped that confidence and faith would be imparted to all the people in J-K.
"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 said on Twitter.
Union Law Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad hailed the prime minister, saying, "Historic address by PM Narendra Modi. Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh is soon going to witness unprecedented growth and development creating better opportunities for people of the regions."
He used the hashtag "KashmirWithModi" with his tweet.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said, "PM's much needed reassuring n inspiring message to people of J&K and Ladakh. Focus 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."
Reacting to the PM's address to the nation, CPI general secretary D Raja said, "It is all rhetoric and nothing more. What stopped him from giving a statement in Parliament? 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. Also, people of Jammu and Kashmir have excelled in sports and even civil services exams. How will removing 370 help? He said UT status is temporary, o ask him, what is temporary? It was all rhetoric and excuses for his Government's move," Raja said.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussains said, "Prime Minister Modi has won the hearts of people of Jammu and Kashmir and the whole country. His speech was very touching."
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan also lauded the prime minister saying, "Statesman like address to the nation by PM Narendra Modi ji, allaying all concerns around the steps taken in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. This will go a long way in winning the hearts and minds of people."
BJP MP Gautam Gambhir said, "This truely was a speech of a statesman. Art 370 pushed J&K towards separatism, nepotism, discrimination and corruption. Its abrogation will lead to growth and prosperity of the state. All of us are committed to build a new J&K free from the shackles of the past."