Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the main opposition Congress party on Tuesday, accusing it of misusing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and allowing it to create an atmosphere of instability in Jammu and Kashmir for decades.
Addressing an election-related rally in the Indian state of Jharkhand, Modi, on behalf of his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said: “We abolished Article 370... It was a mess created by the Congress but we took care of it without creating any new problems.”
The revocation of the article was followed up by a security and communication lockdown in the region for three months.
Modi called upon the people of Jharkhand where the BJP currently controls the state administration to help him and his government in the development and growth of Jammu and Kashmir.
After the Indian government withdrew the special quasi-autonomous status of the Indian side of Kashmir in August, India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads with cross border artillery exchanges that have caused deaths and extensive damage to property.
The crisis between the two nuclear-armed nations even raised fears of an all-out war earlier this year after the air forces of both countries launched aerial strikes against each other on 26 and 27 February, with each shooting down a fighter jet. An Indian pilot was captured, but released later as a goodwill gesture by Pakistan.
India has since divided Jammu and Kashmir into two federally administered union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Referring to Jharkhand state specifically, the prime minister described the region as a growing child.
“Jharkhand is now 19-years-old. It will soon stop being a teenager. Like a parent who is worried about the future of their growing child, I am also working for Jharkhand I want you to stand with me and I promise you that when Jharkhand turns 25 you will not be able to recognise it,” Modi stated.
He also claimed credit for "breaking the back" of the State’s insurgent Naxalite movement responsible for regular kidnappings, railway line explosions, ambushes and violence, and thanked the people of the region for opposing Naxalite tried attempts to disrupt the election on 30 November.
“Today we have managed to bring electricity to places where earlier opposition leaders did not even bother to visit. The BJP has brought the magic of solar power to Jharkhand. We are ensuring that farmers in Jharkhand are getting money straight into their accounts. We are not deceiving them like the Congress and their allies,” he added.