Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday attacked the Congress over its handling of the Kashmir issue, saying the party “pampered” Article 370 like an “illegitimate child” for decades.

At an election meeting in Moradabad, Shah also slammed Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for recently suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not speak about Kashmir while addressing rallies in other states.

“Tell me, isn’t Kashmir ours? Kharge ji of the Congress asks what do people of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have to do with Kashmir,” he said, adding that every child of Moradabad is ready to give his life for Kashmir.

“For 70 years, the Congress pampered Article 370 like an illegitimate (anauras) child in its lap,” Shah said, referring to the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir under the Article.

“You made Modi ji the prime minister for the second time and he abolished Article 370 on August 5, 2019. Today, our tricolour is flying there with pride. Under the leadership of Modi ji, Kashmir has been united with India forever,” Shah said.

Sharpening his attack on the Congress, Shah said, “In 10 years, Modi ji eliminated terrorism and Naxalism from the country. When the Congress was in power, alia-malia-jamalia (anyone) could come here every day from Pakistan and explode bombs.” “Kisi ke maathe per joon nahi rengtee thee (nobody was bothered by this),” he said.

When Modi came to power, they committed the same mistakes in Uri and Pulwama, but they had forgotten that the Manmohan Singh government was no longer in power, Shah said.

He recalled that the armed forces carried out retaliatory strikes inside Pakistan within days of these terror attacks.

BJP supporters during a public meeting to be addressed by Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election, in Moradabad district, Friday, April 12, 2024.

BJP supporters during a public meeting to be addressed by Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election, in Moradabad district, Friday, April 12, 2024.

He said the Modi government eliminated the terrorists by entering their homes. “Pakistan ke ghar mein ghusskar aatankwaadiyo ka safaayaa karne ka kaam Narendra Modi je ne kiyaa.” In 10 years, Modi had transformed the country’s economy from eleventh to fifth place.

He said, “Modi ji has divided the entire country into four ‘castes’ -- women, poor, youth and farmers. On this basis, work has been done for the development of everyone in the entire country.” “If you form the Modi government for the third time, he guarantees that this time we will make India the third largest economy,” Shah said.

Focussing on Uttar Pradesh, Shah said, “Modi ji has done a lot for the state also. I came to western UP in 2013. At that time, fear, riots, cow smuggling and goons reigned here. You removed Samajwadi Party and development moved ahead.” Referring to the alleged migration of Hindus from Kairana in western UP, he said, “Earlier, Hindus were migrating but now it is the goons who are migrating.” “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has worked to strengthen the law and order situation here within seven years. Migration, mafia rule and cow smuggling have ended here. Modi ji gave four airports and six expressways to UP,” Shah said.

The Union minister also informed that under the current government, the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane increased from Rs 210 per quintal to Rs 340 per quintal, and the payment increased from Rs 23,000 crores to Rs 2.5 lakh crores, and more than 20 sugar mills were started and five new sugar mills were built.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, ST Hasan of Samajwadi Party, who was jointly fielded by the SP, BSP and RLD, emerged victorious from Moradabad.

This time, the SP gave the ticket to Ruchi Veera from Moradabad, while the BJP fielded Sarvesh Singh.

Sarvesh Singh was the Lok Sabha MP from Moradabad from 2014 to 2019.

However, he lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to Hasan. Singh has also been a five-time BJP MLA from Thakurdwara assembly constituency in Moradabad from 1991 to 2007 and 2012 to 2014.

Eight parliamentary constituencies in UP will vote in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls on April 19. These are Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Nagina (SC), Moradabad, Rampur and Pilibhit.

The counting of votes will be held on June 4.