We will scrap Article 370, introduce NRC across country: Shah

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The BJP will scrap Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and introduce National Register for Citizens across the country if voted to power again, BJP chief Amit Shah said Thursday, raking up the two hugely disputed issues.

On the campaign trail in West Bengal, he also accused TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee of questioning the air strikes to “appease” her minority vote bank, and demanded that she clarify whether she too favoured a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir like her ally National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.

“We will remove Article 370 from Kashmir after forming the next BJP government at the Centre,” Shah told an election rally here in Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency where the party has fielded industrialist Raju Singh Bisht.

Shah alleged that Banerjee, who is vehemently opposed to the contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC) that is currently restricted to Assam, was “misleading” people, and vowed to introduce it in every state after winning the polls.

“It is our commitment to bring in NRC across the country to chuck out each and every infiltrator. Unlike Mamata Banerjee, we don’t treat infiltrators as our vote bank. For us national security is supreme. We would ensure that each and every Hindu and Buddhist refugee gets citizenship of this country,” he said.

Banerjee has repeatedly claimed the NRC, which seeks to weed out illegal migrants from Assam, will turn even bonafide Indian citizens into refugees.

The NRC got mired in a massive controversy after the names of around 40 lakh people, living in Assam for decades, were omitted from the complete draft that was released last year.

He also took on the West Bengal chief minister for “questioning the veracity” of the Indian Air Force’s strike in Pakistan’s Balakot to avenge the killing of 40 CRPF troopers in Kashmir, saying the IAF’s assault was mourned in only two places–Pakistan and Mamata Banerjee’s office.

“We came to know that Mamata Banerjee was mourning the air strikes. It is quite obvious that the air strikes will be mourned in Pakistan. But why is Mamata Banerjee mourning? She is mourning in order to appease her minority vote bank. This is a shame,” Shah said, attacking the West Bengal leader.

Mocking the grand opposition alliance proposed by Banerjee, Shah wondered why the Congress and CPI(M) were criticising the TMC if they were her allies.

“I wonder what kind of grand alliance Banerjee is proposing. She is saying vote for the grand alliance. Why are the Congress and CPI(M) criticising her TMC if they are allies at the Centre. The fact is no one is willing to stand with Banerjee. This alliance neither has a leader nor a policy,” he said.

Seeking to reach out to tea garden workers, who constitute a sizeable section of the electorate, the BJP chief said his party’s manifesto has promised to provide a pension of Rs 3,000 to them after the age of 60.

In Assam, where the BJP is in power, the government has twice transferred Rs 2,500 directly to their bank accounts, he said, claiming the TMC government in West Bengal neglected tea garden workers.

Shah said the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal were about “restoring democracy” in the TMC-ruled state.

The BJP is making a determined bid to expand its influence in West Bengal where the support base of the Congress and the Left has shrunk over the years.

Shah has set a somewhat ambitious target of winning 23 of the state’s 42 seats. The BJP had won only two seats in the state in 2014.

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