Setting the tone for the party's election campaign in the upcoming Assembly polls in Jharkhand, Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday described the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bold decision for securing India's integrity and asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to clear his party's stand on it.
Shah, who kicked off the BJP's 'Janadesh Yatra' here, also addressed a rally and devoted most part of his speech on Article 370, a clear indication that the issue with fervour of nationalism will be at the top of party's campaign theme.
"By removing Article 370, Modi Ji has shown Pakistan its place and shown it to the world that Kashmir is an inalienable part of India. No one can raise an eye on Kashmir now," he said.
Accusing Congress of putting roadblocks when the Prime Minister takes bold decisions for securing India's integrity and security, Shah asked Congress to clarify whether it stands with India's interest or otherwise.
"When Article 370 and 35A were removed, Congress opposed it tooth and nail. Rahul Gandhi opposed surgical strikes, sought proof of air strikes and supported the JNU 'tukde tukde' gang. Take a decision in which direction you want to move," he said.
Shah said that the BJP has always maintained that Article 370 is against the unity and integrity of India but Congress has always opposed the stand.
"Congress party must clarify whether they stand with India's interest or otherwise," he said adding that when Rahul Gandhi goes for campaigning in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, he should tell the voters whether he is in support of the removal of Article 370 or opposed to it.
Suggesting the opposition that when the country's interests are in question, Shah said the BJP always stood strong with the government on matters of the nation's security and integrity and stressed that no one should get bogged down by party politics.
He reminded the Congress that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, despite being in opposition, wholeheartedly supported the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1971 when Bangladesh got independence.
"When in the 1990s, Pakistan had raised the Kashmir issue in the United Nations, the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao requested Atal Ji to present India's stance in UN, which he accepted willingly despite being in the opposition in Parliament," Shah said.
"As the elections are around the corner, the people of Jharkhand should decide whether they are with Modi Ji, who abrogated Article 370 or with them who wants it to be continued," the BJP president added.
Jharkhand, along with Haryana and Maharashtra, is set to hold assembly elections later this year.
Earlier, Shah hailed Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and appealed to the people to elect the BJP back to power to keep the fast-paced development going on in the state.
He also hit out at the Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) led opposition's alliance and claimed that when both were in power they did nothing for the state's development.
"The Congress gave Jharkhand Rs 55,200 crores in 10 years but the Modi government gave Rs 1,45,345 crores in half the period," Shah said.
The BJP president asserted that Naxalism is on the decline in Jharkhand since the Modi government is in power, and various welfare schemes have been successfully implemented in the state.
Shah also recalled the creation of Jharkhand and said the BJP always supported the demand of the people for a new state.
"This dream was realised by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP government. Atal Ji laid the foundation and Modi Ji brought fast-paced development in Jharkhand. Modi Ji's vision for a developed Jharkhand was implemented seamlessly by the Raghubar Das government," the BJP president said. (ANI)