SULLAH: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday launched a scathing attack on Congress, saying the party cuddled Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir for 70 years, and remained silent when Pakistan used to return beheaded bodies of Indian soldier.
Speaking at a poll rally in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh on the last day of campaigning, Shah said the BJP, if voted to power in Himachal Pradesh, will soon roll out the Uniform Civil Code as he made light of “10 guarantees” promised by rival Congress, saying people trust in the guarantees of those with reputation while the opposition party has none.
While the Congress carried on first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s “mistake” of Article 370, Modi did away with it 2019, he said.
“Is Kashmir ours or not? Should Article 370 have been scrapped or not?,” he asked.
He said for 70 years the Congress kept cuddling Article 370, adding it was scrapped despite the Congress stiffly opposing the move and creating a hype that it will lead bloodshed in the state but nothing happened.
For 10 years when Congress was in power, Pakistan used to return beheaded bodies of our jawans, but the Congress government at Centre never used to speak a word, he said.
Referring to the Uri and Pulwama attacks, he said a befitting reply was given.
Shah infused his speech with planks of development and Hindutva, noting that it was on this day that Maratha king Shivaji had killed Afzal Khan in 1659 and hoisted saffron flag.
Targeting the Congress, he said it is difficult to count the number scams under its rule while it is difficult to find any scam since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.
He accused the Congress of involvement in scams worth Rs 12 lakh crore in its 10 years of reign at the Centre between 2004-14 and said people of Himachal Pradesh will not have any trust in the guarantees offered by a party like this.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led government in the state have left no stone unturned to develop Himachal Pradesh, Shah said, citing measures like installing IIT, AIIMS and medical colleges here.
“The double engine government has scripted history in development in every sector,” he said.
When the Congress ruled for decades in Delhi, it did not act on service personnel’s demand for one-rank-one-pension while Modi implemented it in 2015 after coming to power in 2014, he said.
Notably, Kangra, the biggest district of the state having 15 assembly constituencies, has a sizeable presence of ex-servicemen and serving soldiers.
Shah claimed the era of incumbent parties losing power is over, noting that the BJP has retained its government in many states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur among others due to its development work.
The BJP will come to power in Himachal continuously, he said.
The senior BJP leader referred to surgical strikes against terror camps in Pakistan, construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and expansion and renovation of numerous holy sites under the Modi government to seep people’s votes for his party.
Acknowledging the contribution of Himachal Pradesh in sending youths to serve in armed forces, he said many brave soldiers sacrificed their lives for the nation including Param Vir Chakra awardees Major Somnath Sharma and Capt Vikram Batra.
Shah also accused the Congress of doing politics when vaccines against Covid were rolled out.
“Every morning Rahul Baba used to get up and make a negative tweet…but people did not listen to them (Congress) and everyone took the jab. Later, in nightness darkness he also got himself jabbed. Vaccine is vaccine, which has been prepared by scientists of this country, do they have to do politics in vaccine too?,” he asked.
Rather than saving lives of people, Congress bakes its political bread, said Shah.
Taking a dig at the rival party, he said people often ask what kind of leaders the Congress has while the BJP has leaders like Modi, Jai Ram Thakur and Anurag Thakur, the last being from Himachal.
In an apparent reference to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi and to state Congress chief Pratibha Singh and her son Vikramaditya Singh, Shah said, “Congress has Maa-Beta there and here too.”
“It is a parivarvadi (dynastic) party. In this party there is no place for hardworking people. If you have to move ahead in this party, you need to be born in a prominent family. It is important to be Shehzada and Rajkunwar,” said Shah.
He reminded Rahul Gandhi that “we live in a democracy, time of raja-ranis is over”.
Shah also targeted Congress over the Ram temple issue.
“Tell me, should not a grand temple been built where Lord Ram was born. Ever since Babur destroyed it, lakhs sacrificed their lives, but temple was not built. Congress kept it entangled…
“Now, a grand temple is being built and it will be ready in January 2024,” he said.
Kashi Vishwanath corridor which was destroyed by Aurangzeb, since then it was not built. It was this government which built the corridor, he said.
“…We don’t do vote bank politics, but we are also not scared of votebank,” he said, again targeting Congress.