Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s decision to lace his first poll speech in Beed district with nationalism and scrapping of Article 370 received criticism from locals and Opposition, who said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader could have touched upon issues of drought and migration instead. The region is suffering from severe water crisis and scarcity but Mr. Shah on Tuesday focussed most of the speech on the party’s achievement with regard to Jammu & Kashmir, the local press and experts said.
In an editorial in the popular daily Adarsh Gavkari, journalist Jadish Shinde said Mr. Shah only “dangled a carrot of nationalism” even as the BJP had ruled the State for five years. “He completely skirted the local issues while not bothering to tell people what Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ government had done in the past five years,” Mr. Shinde said.
Local resident and president of Maharashtra Registered Pharmacists’ Association Kailas Tandle said the current drought is the worst in the region in several decades but the Home Minister did not even bother to bring that up in his speech lasting near 15 minutes while flagging off the party’s campaign for the Assembly polls.
Speaking at the annual Dussehra rally at Savargaon in Pathoda taluka, the Union Home Minister had said that Mr. Modi has fulfilled the aspirations of those who voted party to victory with over 300 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. Following this, the Modi government took only five months to remove Article 370. “The work which was pending for the last 70 years was completed in less than five months by this government. This achievement (abrogation of Article 370) of Modiji must be taken to every household during this Maharashtra elections. Will you do that much for him?” Mr. Shah asked the large gathering.
Mr. Tandle said that the least Mr Shah could have done is touch upon the crisis of water shortage and migration in the drought-hit region. “’Even three years ago when he had visited the region, the BJP leader (Mr. Shah) had dodged important issues from the region,” said Mr. Tandle.
Senior BJP leader and local MLA Pankaja Munde however, denied the charge that local issues were sidelined during Mr. Shah’s rally. She said Mr. Shah was not addressing a panchayat rally and was being responsible by mentioning larger issues. “’He is a national leader and people had assembled to listen to him and to the party’s achievements nationally. We are all very proud of the party’s bold move to abrogate Article 370 and feel it should be talked about in greater length,” she told The Hindu.