Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday dared Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to declare that his party would restore provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power in Maharashtra.
Addressing an election rally in tribal Nandurbar district, Shah said that after Narendra Modi won a second term with a massive mandate in May this year, the first thing he did was to abrogate provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"Due to the special provisions, Pakistan fomented terror in the state and over 40,000 people died," he said.
Accusing the Congress of not having the national interest in mind, Shah said the party was only interested in protecting its vote bank.
"Rahul Gandhi says what is the connection of Article 370 in Maharashtra. I dare him to declare that if voted to power, his party would restore the provisions of Article 370. There is still one day to go for the assembly elections," he said.
"In the next five years, Nandurbar will be developed as a premier tribal district in the country and Maharashtra as the number one state," he asserted.
The minister listed the development works being undertaken by the state government and the Centre for tribal welfare.
"The Modi government decided to construct a memorial for tribal freedom fighters. Similarly, Eklavya Model Schools have been started," he said.
Shah accused the Congress of using 'adivasis' (tribals) only for votes and never working for their development.
He also alleged that the Congress did not do anything for the welfare of Other Backward Classes (OBC) in 55 years and said it was the Modi government which gave constitutional status to the OBC Commission.
The Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra is in pole position ahead of elections to the Maharashtra assembly. Battered by defections in the NCP and infighting in Congress, the Opposition finds itself on a sticky wicket at the moment.
Maharashtra goes to polls in a single phase on October 21, and the results will be out on October 24.
(With inputs from PTI)