Srinagar: Union Home Minister Amit Shah Tuesday said that the statehood would be restored in Jammu and Kashmir after holding assembly elections.
In an interview to Republic Live, Shah said, “I had clearly said that statehood in J&K would be restored after elections are held in J&K. The voter list is about to be finalised. After that the Election Commission of India (ECI) will take a call on holding polls.”
On the statements of former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah that elections were not being held in J&K, Shah said, “They should clarify why they did not conduct elections to the local bodies and Panchayats. The elections to the local bodies were not held for the past 70 years. Only three families ruled J&K all these years.”
The Home Minister said: “It was during the tenure of National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah that terrorism spread in J&K. They should answer in whose time terrorism spread. Who allowed terrorism to spread. Why did Farooq Abdullah leave Kashmir and stay in England at that time. They have to answer these questions.”
On the allegations of Omar and Mehbooba that bulldozers were being used to harass people, he said, “Those who think are free to go to the court.”
Responding to the statement of Mehbooba that BJP had not converted Kashmir into Palestine but Afghanistan, Shah said, “Don’t take Mehbooba seriously. Omar and Mehbooba are former chief ministers and they will stay former chief minister for life after having become chief minister once.”
About the assertions that BJP was writing a reimagined history after the abrogation of Article 370, was erasing the contributions of the Mughals and contribution of former Prime Minister Jawarhar Lal Nehru, he said, “New leaders are emerging in Kashmir. These new leaders will emerge from among the panchs and sarpanchs.”
The Home Minister said that J&K had seen unprecedented development after the abrogation of Article 370, “In J&K, all figures of terrorism illustrate that things are great. Crores of yatris and tourists are going to Kashmir and coming back. J&K had the highest ever air passengers last year.”
He said that Article 370 had harmed the country and its abrogation was bringing dividends in J&K while terrorism was ending gradually.
“Since 1950, it has been on our agenda to remove Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir,” Shah said.
He said there were three hotspots as far as internal security in the country was concerned.
“During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime, Bihar and Jharkhand have seen an end to violence while Chhattisgarh will soon see an end to violence. In the North East, at least 8000 terrorists have been made part of the national mainstream. And, in Kashmir, incidents of terrorism are decreasing gradually,” the Home Minister said.
ADANI GETTING CONTRACTS
Responding to the accusations that the BJP government was showering the Adani Group with contracts, he said that he could not comment on it as the Supreme Court had “ceased the issue”.
“However, BJP has nothing to hide or fear,” Shah said.
On the allegations that BJP was promoting crony capitalism and had hijacked all the institutions and systems, he said, “No one can say this about us. Even during Congress’ own rule, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) brought to fore Rs 12 lakh crore scams. If they believe what they say, they can go to court. They did not even go to the court in the Pegasus case despite creating so much noise.”
BHARAT JODO YATRA
Commenting about the Bharat Jodi Yatra led by senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Home Minister said, “There is no competition to BJP. People have not given anyone the status of principal opposition.”
BBC DOCUMENTARY AND HINDENBURG REPORT
On the BBC’s documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hindenburg report on Adani Group, he said, “One thousand lies cannot hide the truth. They have been after Modi since 2002. Yet, every time he comes back strong with the peoples’ support.”
On the allegations of use of unparliamentary language by the opposition leaders in the parliament, Shah said, “People listen to what happens in the Parliament. Words are not being expunged for the first time. There is a need to talk in a parliamentary language. Indian democracy is strong and people keep everything in mind.”
He said that the ensuing polls in Tripura would see BJP not only increasing its seats but also its voter percentage.
“Congress entered into an alliance with the Communists but shared only a few seats. Both have realised they cannot win alone against BJP. This has given more confidence to BJP. We ended violence in Tripura. We stopped drug trafficking through Bangladesh. This has sent a good message among the people. The thrust of the Modi-Manek Saha double engine government is uplifting the poor,” the Home Minister said.
DEVELOPMENT IN NORTH EAST
He said that the North East was witnessing the construction of double-decker bridges.
“In last 8 years, PM Modi has visited the North East at least 51 times. People were provided free ration. Capitals of all North East states before 2024 will get airports and railheads. At least 8000 former terrorists joined the national mainstream. AFSPA has been removed from 60 percent of areas,” Shah said.
He said that the issue of identity politics had been put to rest in Meghalaya and Nagaland as PM Modi had made local languages even more trendy.
“People are getting education in local languages. People in Bodoland Territorial region are studying in their own languages. People of the North East today feel connected with mainland India,” the Home Minister said. “There is no need to enter into accords with groups for ending violence when there is no violence.”
CASTE AND TRIBAL POLITICS
He said that PM Modi had solved the tribal and caste calculus.
“Today the President of the country has a tribal background. The benefits for the poor are reaching the tribals and those with caste backgrounds. They are getting houses, water supply, LPG cylinders, free ration and Rs 5 lakh benefit health cards. The people from tribal and caste backgrounds understand that they are getting development due to peace,” Shah said.
PFI BAN AND CONGRESS
He said that Congress had withdrawn the cases of the PFI cadres in Karnataka.
“We banned the PFI as it was creating raw material to promote terrorism,” the Home Minister said.
He said that the BJP would get a majority in Karnataka.
“I have seen the pulse of people and popularity of PM Modi in Karnataka and am sure that we will get a full majority,” Shah said.
WINNING 4 STATES
He said that besides Karnataka, BJP would also win the polls in Rajasthan,
Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.
The Home Minister said that PM Modi should get the credit for hosting G20.
“Should the opposition get the credit? We have taken the G20 meetings to every state. People will go back from India and be in awe of Indian diversity. If the product is good, you have to promote it,” he said.
Shah said that BJP does not want to erase the Mughal legacy but wants to promote the local history.
He said that BJP was sure of its win in 2024 with its report card of development and security, becoming the 5th biggest economy of the world, changing the lives of 60 crore poor Indians, improving railways, becoming space leaders, bringing industrial development, promoting ‘Make in India’ and bringing the defence exports down by 30 percent.
The Home Minister said that the government was keeping an eye on the external support to the Khalistan movement.
“We are keeping an eye. We are talking to the Punjab Govt. There is coordination between different agencies. However, it is not good to talk about whether we have taken up the issue of internal security with Canada and the UK.”