On the last day of campaigning for the Haryana assembly polls in Ellenabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharpened his attack on the opposition Congress over issues of Article 370 and the Kartarpur corridor, accusing it of "destroying the country" with wrong policies and strategy.
Raising the issue of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, Modi in a rally said what was called a temporary provision by B R Ambedkar, continued for over 70 years but the Congress did nothing about it.
The situation in Kashmir worsened as the government in Delhi remained in slumber, he said.
"The wrong policies and strategy of the Congress have destroyed the nation," he said, stressing that it was people of India and Kashmir who will frame policies now.
"Time has changed, country has changed," he said.
Justifying the scrapping of provisions of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said, "Should Kashmir have been allowed to be destroyed for the sake of power in Delhi? Should Kashmir be more important or post of a prime minister? Every Indian's reply is the same that PMs will come and go, Kashmir has to remain and prosper."
He said for 70 years, "no honest efforts" were made to find a meaningful solution to the issue even after innocents kept dying in J-K while the jawans sacrificed their lives for the safety and security of citizens there.
He also accused the Congress of opposing the government move with regard to Jammu and Kashmir.
On the Kartarpur corridor, which links historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak in Pakistan, to Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur, Modi said it was nearly completion and the Centre had been making arrangements to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikhism founder in a grand manner.
"The inability to bring the Kartarpur gurdwara within the Indian territory was a mistake made during the Partition," he said, adding that the Congress did not make efforts to ensure that devotees "were not separated from their guru".
"But the Congress and those parties connected with their culture, never gave respect to the belief, tradition and culture of the Indians," he said.
"What has been the Congress' approach towards our holy places, the same approach they had towards Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Attacking the Congress, he said, "The government which was in slumber in Delhi worsened the Kashmir situation. Initially, a portion of our territory was snatched away from us and became Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir."
"A few years later, Kashmir's Sufi tradition was buried. Its roots were shaken," he said, stressing that the Sufi tradition of Kashmir gave the message of unity and brotherhood.
"But those sitting in Delhi could not see this. They thought if they take care of one or two families, Kashmir will be taken care of. Allow these one or two families to do whatever they want...if they have to loot, let them...if people are destroyed, let them be...Kashmir will be controlled...such things continued," said Modi in a stinging attack.
He said later "discrimination and injustice" started with Jammu, Ladakh and Kargil.
Referring to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley due to militancy nearly three decades ago, Modi said, "Then a trick was played when more than four lakh Kashmiri Pandit families were forced to leave their homes in the Valley, a few of them were killed, their houses burnt down and some of the women were raped."
"Those sitting in Delhi turned a blind eye to what was happening in Kashmir," he said.
"And therefore, I ended this temporary provision. When you made me permanent for five years, why would I allow this temporary thing to continue," he said.
On the sharing of river waters with Pakistan, Modi said India would not allow its water to flow to Pakistan, saying for 70 years "our rivers kept flowing to Pakistan and our governments failed to act".
"You tell me, should we allow our water flow to Pakistan. Is this acceptable that our fields remain parched while Pakistan remaining green? How can it happen? You have the right over this water and I will not allow a single drop of water flow to Pakistan," he said.
In his second rally of the day in Rewari, Modi accused the Congress of failing to abrogate Article 370 despite having promised it in Parliament in 1964.
"During a debate in Parliament in 1964, the country's distinguished leader got upset… there was division in the Congress. There was a demand that Article 370 be nullified and there be a debate on this issue in Parliament.
"At that time, Congress leaders, with folded hands, had said that their demand would be met and Article 370 would be nullified in one year. But the matter was again put on the back burner," said Modi.
"What was the compulsion and what game was being played," he asked.
He also attacked the opposition party, claiming that it did not build any memorial for jawans and policemen who sacrificed their lives for the nation for 70 years. Only the BJP government built such memorials for them.
He said that it was the BJP government which abrogated provisions of the Article 370, while the Congress was only concerned about its "personal interests".
The prime minister said that under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, which was implemented by the BJP government, a sum of Rs 900 crore was given to around two lakh ex-soldiers in Haryana alone, he added.
Modi said the BJP government had strengthened its armed forces by bringing in modernised weapons, Rafale jets and bulletproof jackets for soldiers.