Kalimpong (WB), Apr 11: The BJP will scrap Article 370 of the constitution which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and introduce the National Register for Citizens (NRC) across the country if voted to power again, BJP chief Amit Shah said on Thursday.
On the campaign trail in West Bengal, he also accused TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee of questioning the Balakot airstrikes 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 in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency where the party has fielded industrialist Raju Singh Bisht.
Shah alleged that Banerjee, who is vehemently opposed to the contentious 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 that 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 transferred Rs 2,500, twice, directly to their bank accounts, he said, claiming the TMC government in West Bengal is neglecting 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.
Danish billionaire’s 3 kids among killed
Copenhagen, Apr 22: Denmark’s richest man Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife lost three of their four children in the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, a spokesman for Povlsen’s fashion firm said on Monday.
The spokesman declined to give any further details but Danish media said the family had been on holiday in Sri Lanka.
A string of bombings at churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka killed 290 people and wounded about 500 in Sunday’s attacks. A senior investigator said on Monday that seven suicide bombers had taken part in the attacks.
Povlsen is the owner of fashion firm Bestseller, which includes brands like Vero Moda and Jack & Jones, and is the majority stakeholder in online retailer Asos while also holding a big stake in Zalando.
He owns more than 1 percent of all the land in Scotland, according to Forbes.
We took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, Congress response timid: Modi
Pimpalgaon (Maharashtra): Targeting the UPA regime on national security issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said his government took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, compared to the timid approach adopted by the Congress-led regime.
Modi’s remarks at a poll rally here in Nashik district of Maharashtra came a day after a terror attack in Sri Lanka killed 290 people in a series of eight blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in the island country.
The prime minister said that due to the bold approach adopted by his government, ‘terrorism’ has been curbed in India and is confined only to some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Under attack from the Congress for not letting the Rafale contract go to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Modi accused the opposition party of destroying the state-run enterprise.
The HAL has a unit in Nashik.
The prime minister said his government has increased defence production under the ‘Make in India’ programme.
Campaigning for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance candidates from Nashik, Dindori and Dhule Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi said the Lanka blasts took place on Easter when people were sharing the message of peace.
“What was the condition in India before 2014? Bomb explosions would take place in corners of the country every now and then in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Jammu,” Modi said.
“What did the then Congress-NCP government do? Held condolence meeting, expressed grief. They went about crying in the world, saying Pakistan did this and that in our country,” he said.
“But what did your chowkidar do? Your chowkidar changed this timid approach of the Congress-NCP government,” Modi said.
In an apparent reference to the 2016 surgical strike and Balakot air strike carried out in February this year, Modi said the security forces barged into the “factory of terror and cleaned everything without any discrimination”.
Modi said every “terrorist” is aware that “Modi would trace him even if he is hiding in the netherworld.”
Without naming any leader from the opposition, Modi said “some” experience electric current the moment I talk about dynasty and national security.
He said the opposition was restless given the response the BJP got in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha polls across the country.
Addressing the rally in a region known for onion production, Modi said his government is trying to increase onion storage capacity and reduce tax on their transportation.
He claimed that the Congress tweaked crop prices to benefit middlemen.
“I have fought a battle against these middlemen,” he added.
“Our government working to end the rule of middlemen,” Modi said.
Speaking at a poll rally at Nandurbar later, Modi said accused the opposition parties of spreading rumours that reservations will modified if he returns to power.
Modi said he will ensure that the quota quantum is not disturbed.
“Till Modi is here, nobody can touch reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said.
Modi also assured people in the tribal dominated constituencies in north Maharashtra that his government will ensure they would not face eviction from their land.
“As long as Modi is there, reservation for adivasis will not be removed. No one can lay hand on your agricultural land you are cultivating now,” he said.
The adivasis are currently struggling to keep their land with themselves as some provisions of the Forest Rights Act are being challenged.
“In Maharashtra alone, 1.25 crore farmers’ families are benefiting from Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Yojana. If voted to power again, we will remove the upper land holding limit of five acre,” Modi said.
“My government is also going to introduce a pension scheme for farmers in coming years,” he said.
North Maharashtra produces sugarcane which can be used for ethanol production, Modi said.
It will create jobs for locals but the Congress-NCP leaders never allowed it to happen, he said.
“These leaders used to get kickbacks for importing fuel.
If fuel imports are reduced due to ethanol blending, they fear of losing their income,” Modi said.
Recalling that it was in Nandurbar that the Aadhar scheme was launched in 2010, Modi said his government ensured its wider impact.
“But and now the Congress has approached the Supreme Court against Aadhar card,” he said.
Funds meant for pregnant women and children were “looted” by Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh and were seized from residences of some of their leaders, he said.
“They (Congress) are unrelenting in abusing me as I targeted their corruption,” Modi said.
The prime minister also attacked Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his alleged remark that those who don’t get a square meal join the army and become jawans. Modi said that according to Kumaraswamy, people who guard our borders are not children of the rich and join the armed forces because they don’t have food to eat.
JK Cong rings Delhi even for minor decisions: Omar
Srinagar, Apr 21: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah Sunday said Congress leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to take decisions on their own.
“When we were in an alliance with Congress, I noticed it myself that even for minor decisions they have to seek permission from party leadership in New Delhi,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
However, Omar said, NC candidates for Parliamentary Elections if elected will not have to take “dictation” from New Delhi.
“Not only New Delhi but even National Conference top leadership. Our Parliamentarians will just have to represent the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Omar said people should come out to vote as boycotting elections will only help the BJP and RSS.
He said it was unfortunate that Election Commision of India was ignoring repeated violations of Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendara Modi and top BJP leadership.