Amidst controversy over the BJP raking up Article 370 during the Lok Sabha polls, its former President Nitin Gadkari on Saturday clarified that it was an old issue for the party that was included in the BJP manifesto and not that of the NDA.
“Article 370 has been in our agenda and BJP will take a decision over it when it comes to power in full strength on its own,” Gadkari said.
Gadkari, who is member of the BJP Parliamentary Board, said like in the past it was not on agenda of NDA, but of the BJP.
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Inclusion of Article 370, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Ram temple at Ayodhya and Uniform Civil Code in BJP poll manifesto for 2014 Lok Sabha elections has triggered widespread criticism from rival parties.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other JD(U) leaders were up on their feet as soon as the BJP manifesto with focus on these controversial issues was released.
Hitting hard at his old ally, Kumar had said “this justified his party walking out of the alliance with BJP.” Congress, RJD, Samajwadi Party and other parties used the issue to intensify their criticism of BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Facing criticism of being a communal party, Gadkari said: “Congress, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar are poisoning the society with continuously talking about casteism and communalism. These are multi-communal parties out to destroy the nation.”
Elaborating the meaning of ‘multi-communal’, Gadkari, flanked by former deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav, said the term denotes “last degree of communalism” applied to something which is “100 per cent communal.”
On Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ahmed Geelani claiming that two representatives of Narendra Modi had met him to discuss the Kashmir issue, Gadkari dismissed the claim and said Geelani should reveal the identity of the individuals.
“Narendra Modi did not meet him. Geelani says two persons met him on his behalf, but he should tell who they were. Their names, status and authority should be revealed,” said Gadkari.
Alleging that Kashmir problem was created by the Congress, he said that the entire state was suffering from unemployment despite having a rich potential of development in the tourism sector. “The Kashmir problem could be solved only when Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister. Our mission is to eradicate poverty and bring policies to create employment there,” he said.
“Tourism is a big sector in Kashmir, but big hotels and world’s largest companies could not come there because of Article 370, which prohibits anybody from outside the state from buying land,” he said.
Gadkari attacked Congress for rampant corruption and creating a world record for inflation in its rule at the Centre over the last 10 years. “Congress has spread corruption in the air, land and even ‘pataal’ (land below the surface) in the form of commission in the purchase of helicopters, Commonwealth Games and the Coalgate scam. It has also created a world record of inflation,” said Gadkari.
Appealing to vote for his party, the BJP leader said the Gujarat model of development should be followed for the development of the nation as it was the state with the highest growth rate of agriculture with 11.5 per cent.