Mumbai: Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday hit out at Rahul Gandhi at a poll rally in Maharashtra, questioning why the Congress was discussing internal issues with foreign leaders. The attack came a day after UK representatives of the Indian Overseas Congress discussed the Kashmir situation with Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“Kamal Dhaliwal - Overseas Congress Chief, close to Rahul Gandhi, met Jeremy Corbyn and said the situation is not normal in Kashmir. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi, what does your party want to do by discussing matters of country with foreign leaders?” Shah said at an election rally in Muldhana.
Demanding an apology from Gandhi, he said the meeting was against India's stated stand that there will be no third party role in Kashmir and the state is India's internal matter. “Rahul Gandhi should clarify his stand on the issue," he said.
After the meeting, the Congress had on Thursday disowned its overseas Congress unit in the UK, saying it is not authorised to talk on India's internal matters with outsiders.
Shah also slammed the opposition for criticizing scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the historic decision.
"The people of Maharashtra have a choice to make. The Congress and NCP work for the welfare of their respective families, whereas the BJP and Shiv Sena have only the country's interest on their mind," Shah said.
He said Modi's first decision after winning a historic mandate for a second term in May was to scrap Articles 370 and 35A, which were impediments in complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India.
"No PM ever dared to touch this issue. But, Modiji did it. Today Kashmir is an integral part of the country. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said rivers of blood will flow in the Valley if the decision (scrapping Article 370) was taken and voted against the decision in Parliament. But, not a drop of blood has been shed," the BJP chief said.
The home minister said for the BJP, the country's security is more important than vote-bank politics. "Why is the opposition asking what is the connection of Article 370 with Maharashtra politics? The entire country wanted Kashmir to be a part of India and Modiji fulfilled that wish," Shah said.
"Maharashtra has got nothing to do with Kashmir? Soldiers from Buldhana sacrificed their lives for the protection of Kashmir. Opposition doesn't feel national issues are important," he said.
Shah said these are first elections in Maharashtra (and also in Haryana) after scrapping of Article 370 on August 5 and they provide an opportunity to voters to show they are one on this crucial issue. "The elections are an opportunity to show that the entire country is together on this issue," he said.
The home minister reiterated that the NRC (National Register of Citizens) will be implemented and by 2024, each and every infiltrator will be thrown out of the country.
Shah said earlier when Pakistan-based terrorists attacked India, there used to be no reaction, but this approach changed after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.
"Mauni baba" (then PM Manmohan Singh) remained quiet. But, when Uri and Pulwama happened, Modi retaliated with surgical strikes and air strikes. The Congress and NCP cannot keep the country safe and secure," he charged.
Shah endorsed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's leadership and said he will occupy the post for the next five years and sought a mandate with a 3/4th majority in the polls. Shah said political stability was absent during the erstwhile Congress-NCP rule.
Mocking the NCP over dynastic politics, he said Pawar family members Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, and their children were contesting elections. "Why? Is there no talent outside the family? Such ‘pariwar wadi' parties can’t work for the welfare of the state and the country," he said.