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Amit Shah calls Gupkar Alliance an ‘unholy global gathbandhan’

Home Minister Amit Shah. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday termed the Gupkar Alliance, a coalition of Jammu and Kashmir political parties, an “unholy global gathbandhan” against the national interest. He asked if the Congress, reported to be in informal seat-adjustment arrangements with the People’s Alliance of the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) for the District Development Council (DDC) polls, endorsed what the alliance leaders had said on Article 370 restoration.

Also read | Gupkar alliance rocky as partners field candidates against one another

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah were quick to criticise Mr. Shah for his remarks.

And the Congress said it was not a part of the PAGD and asked the BJP to explain its 2015 alliance with the PDP.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Shah said the “Indian people will no longer tolerate an unholy ‘global gathbandhan’ against our national interest. Either the Gupkar Gang swims along with the national mood or else the people will sink it.” He accused the parties making up the alliance such as the NC and the PDP of trying to collude with foreign powers and showing disrespect to the Tricolour.

‘Old habits die hard’

In a tweet, Ms. Mufti said, “Old habits die hard. Earlier BJP’s narrative was that the ‘tukde tukde’ gang threatened India’s sovereignty and they are now using ‘Gupkar Gang’ euphemism to project us as anti nationals. Irony died a million deaths since its BJP itself that violates the constitution day in and day out”.

Also read | Not in Gupkar Alliance yet, says Congress.

Questioning the BJP's criticism of the PAGD, she said fighting elections in an alliance “is also anti-national now”.

Ms. Mufti stated, “BJP can stitch as many alliances in its hunger for power but somehow we are undermining national interest by putting up a united front”. The BJP’s stale tactic of dividing India by projecting themselves as saviours and political opponents as internal and imagined enemies was far too predictable now. “Love jihad, tukde tukde and now Gupkar Gang dominates the political discourse instead of like rising unemployment and inflation”, she observed.

Mr. Abdullah also took to Twitter to respond to Mr. Shah’s tweets.

“We didn’t oblige them”

“I can understand the frustration behind this attack by the Home Minister. He had been briefed that the People’s Alliance was preparing to boycott elections. This would have allowed the BJP and newly formed king’s party a free run in J&K. We didn’t oblige them”, he said.

Also read: BJP terms Gupkar alliance stance on Article 370, Tricolor ‘anti-national’

It was only in J&K that leaders could be detained and called anti-national for participating in elections and supporting the democratic process. “The truth is all those who oppose the ideology of the BJP are labelled ‘corrupt and anti-national’,” he stated.

Mr. Abdullah asserted, “We are not “gang” Amit Shah ji, we are a legitimate political alliance having fought and continuing to fight elections, much to your disappointment”.

Mr. Shah had tweeted, “The Gupkar Gang is going global! They want foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gupkar Gang also insults India’s Tricolour. Do Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such moves of the Gupkar Gang? They should make their stand crystal clear to the people of India”.

Surjewala’s question to BJP

In New Delhi, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement, “The Congress is neither a part of the Gupkar Alliance nor is it a part of the PAGD… Will Mr. Amit Shah bother to explain why did the BJP form a coalition government with the PDP that he is now attacking?”.

Also read: J&K DDC polls| Farooq Abdullah extends olive branch to Mehbooba Mufti

The Congress said it didn’t need any lesson in nationalism from parties that were ‘slaves or stooges of the British Empire’. It claimed that the national still remembered the sacrifices of its leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr. Surjewala said, “May be Amit Shah and the Narendra Modi government need new lessons in patriotism and nationalism, as their parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), never hoisted the Tricolour for 52 years”.

The Congress also delved into some past events. It asked the BJP to explain why it allowed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence to visit the Pathankot airbase following the terror attack and released Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, among others.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 2:16:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/amit-shah-terms-pagd-as-gupkar-gang-asserts-jk-will-remain-integral-part-of-india/article33115322.ece

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