"One cannot get votes by constantly raising Pulwama (terror attack), Article 370 issues. The article was abrogated in Parliament. Today, the leaders of the BJP are asking us our opinion about it," Pawar said at Hingna.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and NCP president Sharad Pawar on Thursday sparred over BJP’s use of Article 370 as an issue in the Maharashtra Assembly elections. Pawar, addressing a rally at Hingna near Nagpur, said his party welcomed the abrogation of Article 370, but the BJP was exploiting it to target Opposition. Retorting, Shah said his party will raise the issues concerning national security.
“One cannot get votes by constantly raising Pulwama (terror attack), Article 370 issues. The article was abrogated in Parliament. Today, the leaders of the BJP are asking us our opinion about it,” Pawar said at Hingna. Shah, earlier in the day, had sought to know whether Pawar and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were in favour of the abrogation of Article 370 or against it.
“Parliament abrogated the Article. Only four-five people opposed it. What they (those who opposed) said was that the decision can be taken, but the people in Kashmir should be taken into confidence first,” Pawar said. “But the rulers today are criticising the opponents by raising the Article 370 issue instead of talking about what they are doing to resolve basic issues of people,” he added. Why doesn’t the Narendra Modi government “show courage” to also scrap Article 371 of the Constitution, which bars people from other parts of India from buying land in the Northeastern states, Pawar said.
“You scrapped Article 370, why don’t you show the courage to scrap 371? We will support you…They (BJP) are misleading people in the name of 370, Pulwama,” Pawar alleged. He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of seeking political mileage out of air strikes on terror camps in Balakot after the Pulwama terror attack in February.
The former Union minister said the decision to take hard measure to combat terrorism was taken “unanimously” by all-party leaders (at a meeting called by Defence Minister) and not by a “single individual”, he said. “But political mileage was sought out of the valour shown by security forces, which was not right,” Pawar said.
Former prime minister Indira Gandhi did not seek to exploit, politically, the victory in the 1971 war, he said. “She gave credit to the security forces. But political mileage was sought…(after Balakot) and the BJP benefited from it in the Lok Sabha polls,” he added. Agrarian crisis deepened on the BJP’s watch but the government did not pay heed, he said. Pawar also alleged that “not an inch of work” was carried out on Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian sea after Modi inaugurated the work (in December 2016). Countering Pawar at a rally in Latur’s Killari, Shah said the issue of national security and Article 370 was “important” for the BJP. “Sharad Pawar and leaders of Congress asked me is Article 370 the only issue….Maharashtra runs on the ethos of Shivaji Maharaj’s swarajya (self-rule).
The issue of national security will be discussed in the polls,” the BJP chief said. “You run away if you want, we will definitely appeal to people of Maharashtra on the issue of national security,” he added. “You cannot face us on the issue of development, Pawar Saheb. You (Congress-NCP government) gobbled up money of the poor people of Maharashtra,” he alleged.