Assembly elections 2019: Amit Shah spells out BJP poll plank with poser to Rahul Gandhi

Assembly elections are due in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Haryana this year and the BJP looks set to play the Kashmir card this time around.

Assembly elections 2019, Amit Shah, BJP, Rahul Gandhi, article 370, kashmir, J&K, politics, pakistan, rahul gandhi news, rahul gandhi pakistan
Shah asked why Congress got a 'stomach ache' following the abrogation of Article 370 (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should explain his stand on the Narendra Modi government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, Home minister Amit Shah said today, making it abundantly clear what the Bharatiya Janata Party’s agenda for the elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand is going to be. Shah said Rahul and the Congress need to tell the electorate in these states where they stand on this matter. “Rahul Gandhi should tell the people of Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana, when he goes to these states, whether he was with the decision to abrogate Article 370,” the BJP president said addressing a gathering in Jharkhand’s Jamtara.

Launching a scathing attack at the Congress, Shah asked why the grand old party got a ‘stomach ache’ following the abrogation of Article 370. He said, “Our stand has been to remove Article 370 ever since it had been there but why the Congress felt a ‘stomach ache’ following its annulment?” Shah’s attack came in reference to the Congress’ stand in parliament during the debate on abrogation of Article 370. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had questioned the Centre’s move saying the matter was already at the UN. This went contrary to India’s longheld stand that the Kashmir issue was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan and there was no room for any third party to mediate.

“They (Congress) should tell the people which direction they want to go,” Shah said while noting that the Congress had also opposed and sought evidence after the surgical strike.

Assembly elections are due in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Haryana this year and the BJP looks set to play the Kashmir card this time around. Armed with a decision as significant as the abrogation of Article 370, the BJP is well poised to take the decision to the electorate in the three states where it is already in power.

Also read | Assembly elections 2019: Election Commission set to sound bugle for Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand elections soon

Since the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August, the issue has become a flashpoint between the BJP and the Congress. On Tuesday, Gandhi lashed out at the Centre and said it should stop creating space for terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s political space. He also demanded the release of all the “nationalist” leaders like Farooq Abdullah at the earliest.

Earlier, the youngest Gandhi scion had accused the Modi government of “abuse of power” for its decision on J&K, adding the decision could have grave implications for the country. The matter was readily lapped up by Pakistan in building a case against India. Rahul’s remarks were quoted by Pakistan on two occasions in its representations to the United Nations.

However, a few days later, Gandhi said that he disagreed with the Modi government on many issues but clarified that Kashmir is India’s internal matter and no country, including Pakistan, should interfere in the country’s internal issue. Congress denied Pakistan claims and asserted that Pakistan was “mischievously dragging” the name of Gandhi on the Kashmir issue to justify its “pack of lies and deliberate misinformation”.

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