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Opinion

Amit Shah Targets Gupkar Group In ‘Foreign Link’

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A newly launched political party grouping in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) wants foreign forces to intervene in the region and return it to the era of “terror and confusion,” Union Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday. in a scathing critique of the six-party bloc known as the Popular Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

He said that the “Gupkar Gang” wants to take away the rights of Dalits, women and tribal peoples that the Center ensured by eliminating Article 370, which granted special status to the old state, and challenged Congress President Sonia Gandhi and his son Rahul Gandhi. to clear the air on whether his party backs the alliance. Shah also called the group a “global gathbandhan against our national interest.”

His comments triggered a strong response from the coalition, which its leaders said was formed to demand the restoration of the old state’s special status. The PAGD leadership said the Center’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to delegitimize a coalition participating in the upcoming local elections in J&K. Congress also responded to Shah, saying the party is not part of PAGD, which includes the regional powers National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“The Gupkar gang is going global! They want foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gupkar gang also insults the tricolor of India. Do Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such movements of the Gupkar gang? They must make their position very clear to the people of India, ”Shah wrote on Twitter.

Read also | Congress not part of the Gupkar alliance: Surjewala

The BJP maintains that the Gupkar grouping, led by Farooq Abdullah from NC, has been formed following the directions of Pakistan and China and is led by “anti-India” forces. The BJP unit at J&K has also demanded the arrest of PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, the PAGD vice president, for her comments in late October that she will hold the national tricolor only after the old state flag is restored.

“Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and will always be an integral part of India. The Indian people will no longer tolerate an unholy ‘global gathbandhan’ against our national interest. Either the Gupkar Gang swims with the national mood or the people will go under, ”Shah added.

Reacting to Shah’s tweets, PAGD alleged that the BJP is frustrated with the alliance as it will not win a pass in the district development council (DDC) elections, which will take place from November 28 to December 22, with coalition candidates in fray. .

“I can understand the frustration behind this attack from the Honorable Minister of the Interior. He was informed that the Popular Alliance (PAGD) was preparing to boycott the elections. This would have allowed the BJP and the newly formed King’s Party (Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party) to have freedom at J&K. We didn’t do them the favor, ”NC’s Omar Abdullah tweeted.

He also highlighted that PAGD is not a gang but a “legitimate political alliance.” “Only at J&K can leaders be arrested and called anti-nationals for participating in elections and supporting the democratic process. The truth is that all those who oppose the ideology of the BJP are labeled “corrupt and anti-national,” he added.

Mufti, a former BJP ally, said the party’s “rancid tactic of dividing India by projecting itself as saviors and political opponents as internal and imaginary enemies is now too predictable.”

“Old habits die hard. The previous BJP narrative was that the tukde tukde gang threatened the sovereignty of India and now they are using the euphemism of ‘Gupkar Gang’ to project us as anti-nationals. Irony died a million deaths from his own BJP violating the constitution day after day.

“Fighting the elections in an alliance is also anti-national now. BJP can unite so many alliances in its hunger for power, but somehow we are undermining the national interest by raising a united front, ”he tweeted.

Srinagar-based political analyst Aseem Bhat said the uniting of the parties against the BJP is a significant advance. “Until now, regional parties were on the defensive (after the repeal of Article 370 last year) … Now, they have started to make aggressive policies not only in Kashmir but also in the Jammu region, which is going to harm the BJP … “

In the statement denying any association with PAGD, Congress said Shah should explain the BJP’s alliance with the PDP in 2015, when the two parties formed the government in the state.

Read also | ‘Those who oppose the ideology of the BJP are labeled as corrupt and anti-national’: Omar Abdullah

“Congress is not part of the Gupkar Alliance or the PAGD. Will Mr. Amit Shah bother to explain why the BJP formed a coalition government with the PDP which is now attacking? Congressional chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said, accusing the interior minister of “making malicious statements” about J&K and emphasizing that Congress will never compromise the territorial integrity of the country.

PAGD has already released two lists comprising the names of 54 candidates for DDC polls, in which the nominees will compete for party symbols. Despite the refusal of the leadership of the central Congress, three of the party’s candidates appear on the second list. Additionally, J&K Congressional leadership said earlier this week that the party is part of the grouping.

On August 5, 2019, the central government struck down Article 370 and forked J&K into two Union territories: J&K with a legislative assembly and Ladakh without one, sparking widespread protests and a political storm.

Several political leaders and activists, including three former senior ministers, the Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, were detained as a preventive measure to maintain public order. The Abdullahs were released in March and the Mufti in October.

Since then, leaders, once fierce opponents, have come together, backed by four other parties (Peoples ‘Conference, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Peoples’ Movement, and Awami National Conference), to forge the alliance that has as an objective to work for the restoration of the special status of the region. The group’s first meeting was held at Farooq Abdullah’s Gupkar residence on October 15.

Hindustan Times

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