Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday slammed Opposition leaders for opposing abrogation of Article 370 and rubbished their claim that the decision by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has 'destroyed' Kashmir.
Addressing BJP's campaign rallies for the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections at Pune, Satara and Parli, Modi also said that despite a lot of talk in the last 70 years, it was only his government which dared abrogate Article 370.
"An Opposition leader said this decision (abrogation of Article 370) will destroy the country. It has been three months, has the country been destroyed," Modi said at the Parli rally.
"A Congress leader had said that had there been Hindus in Kashmir, the BJP Government would have never taken the decision of abrogation of Article 370. Do you see 'Hindu-Muslim' in the unity and integrity of the country?" Modi said.
He said another Congress leader had said that we lost Kashmir by abrogating Article 370.
"Have we lost Kashmir? Let me know if you want to go to Kashmir. I will make the arrangements," Modi said.
History will have a mention of those who ridiculed the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said.
"I trust you and your patriotism that you will teach a resounding lesson to those who speak against interests of the country. History will take note of every person who ridiculed the abrogation of Article 370," Modi said, alleging that the Congress leaders provided ‘oxygen’ to anti-India elements.
Addressing the Pune rally, Modi said the entire world can see the new-found confidence of New India.
"Everyone can feel the change. They are discussing Howdy Modi (event in the United States)," Modi said.
"Haven't you felt the effect of the New India in the last 100 days of our second term? Do you see its power? Do you see its decision-making abilities and clarity in ideas?" Modi asked the crowd.
"Since the last 70 years, the entire country was facing the hurdle of Article 370. There was a lot of talk to remove it, but no one dared to do it. Was this the first government in India with a full majority? No, it is not," he said.
Modi said the decision (to abrogate Article 370) wasn't an easy one to make.
"Whenever we bring a change to the ongoing situation, protests are expected. But the India of 21st century will not stop at the ongoing situation, and isn't afraid of changes," he said.
At the Pune rally, Modi bowed down before the people while speaking about the abrogation of Article 370.
The government has recently taken a lot of measures to bolster the economy, Modi said.
"We have taken steps to promote manufacturing, start-ups, and have given sops in corporate tax," he said.
"Our government will take every step needed for the bright future of the Indian youth and investment," he said.
India today is one of the top-FDI friendly countries in the world, Modi said.
"Every business leader I have had a discussion with globally is keen to come to India. The growth in investment in India in the last five years has been five times," he said.
Be it the government, businessmen or the youth, everyone needs to stay ready for the new economy of New India, he said.
At the rally in Satara, Modi asserted that his government adheres to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's principles of nationalism and national security, and possess the strength to give a befitting reply to those who have ‘evil designs’ on India.
Modi said that as Shivaji Maharaj did, his government too has worked to strengthen the defence forces.
"In the last five years, our government has brought our armed forces at par with the armed forces of other countries. Be it Army, Navy or Air Force, modern weapons are a part of our armed forces today," he said.
The Centre and the state government have adhered to the values of Shivaji Maharaj in the last five years, he said.
"Nationalism and national security are our top priority. Those having evil designs against the country will be given a befitting reply," he said.
"We have taken decisions for national integration which earlier governments had no guts to take," he said.
Hitting out at the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party, Modi said the two parties opposed decisions taken in the interest of national security and national integration.
"They even spread false propaganda against Rafale (the deal to buy the French-made fighter jets) and their stand on abrogation of Article 370 has hurt the people of Satara," Modi said.
"They leave no chance to malign Veer Savarkar. Congress and NCP does not understand national sentiment. They were taught a lesson in the Lok Sabha elections and now Maharashtra and Haryana will also punish them severely (in assembly elections and bypolls)," he said.
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan refused to contest the Satara by-poll as he knew the outcome, Modi said.
"Then the issue of (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar entering the fray came up. But, Sharadrao being Sharadrao, he knows which way the wind is blowing and hence refused to contest," Modi said.