Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at criticism over raising the issue of Article 370 and Jammu and Kashmir in the Maharashtra polls using the Hindi phrase “Doob Maro (drown in shame)”. Modi, addressing a rally in Maharashtra's Akola on Wednesday, said, “Those unhappy over (the abrogation of) Article 370 do not want a united India but they want a divided India, an India fighting against each other.”
The PM Modi pointed out that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are “sons” of India and hence the state is relevant in political discourse. “There is no district in Maharashtra from where bravehearts didn't go to fight and sacrifice for Jammu and Kashmir's peace,” said Modi to a huge crowd. When he asked the crowd whether they are happy over the government's move on Article 370, a thundering “yes” answered back.
PM Modi also reaffirmed the BJP's pledge to confer Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar and criticised past governments for not recognising and awarding the works of Savarkar and Babasaheb Ambedkar. “Those are the people who insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar... and for decades kept the Bharat Ratna away from him (sic). They hurled abuses at Savarkar,” adding, “It is the ideals of Veer Savarkar that we have put nationalism at the core of nation-building.”
The PM Modi also took barbs at Opposition leaders who are coming under the scanner for alleged links to criminals and terrorists and said his government is holding such leaders accountable. “The country now asks how perpetrators of terrorism in Mumbai fled the country? Some state leaders were having relations with such individuals. They are now attacking investigating agencies and the government because they are scared of truth coming out.”
Highlighting the projects undertaken by the government for the people, Modi pointed out that the benefits of schemes from Ayushman Bharat to Mudra Yojana is reaching every section of the society. He also reaffirmed the government's commitment to supply piped water to every household by 2024 and availing all farmers solar water pumps by 2022. The Prime Minister also apprised the crowd of work carried out to improve rail connectivity in the region and emphasized the state's focus to encourage textile and food processing industries to promote employment. Concluding his over 30-minute speech, he asked voters to turn up on polling stations on Monday (October 21) and not be swayed by the temptation to visit elsewhere over a long weekend.