India’s Modi makes election vow to remove Kashmir’s special rights

India’s Modi makes election vow to remove Kashmir’s special rights

Addressing public gathering the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at manifesto release, he said, "It is one mission, one direction for BJP".

The main opposition Congress party released its manifesto last week, blasting the Hindu nationalist BJP for working "to divide the nation".

Pollsters say its re-election campaign got a boost from recent hostilities with Pakistan, after Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) reportedly claimed a February suicide bombing in Pulwama that killed 40 Indian security forces.

Kashmir's special constitutional status prevents outsiders from buying property in the state, among other restrictions. At the manifesto release event, the stalwarts of the party took to the stage to speak at length about BJP's accomplishments in the past five years.

"We are committed to overcome all obstacles in the way of development and provide adequate financial resources to all the regions of the state".

Political leaders in Muslim-majority Kashmir, where India is fighting an armed insurgency against its rule, have warned that repealing the law would lead to widespread unrest.

"Let them do it and it will pave the way for our azadi", Farooq Abdullah, president of Kashmir's National Conference party, told an election rally, referring to freedom for the region. "The world has drastically changed because of social media and things like that, the policies sometimes are lagging behind and procedures, which have to be followed, make us slow", said the official at the ECI, which has 300 people in its headquarters and others in states. "We want to fight poverty rather than sit inside air-conditioned rooms".

The national elections will see close to 900 million voters cast their ballots in almost a million polling booths - the world's biggest ever democratic exercise.

Tearing into the BJP's election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress on Monday dubbed it a "jhansa patra" (document of deceit) and said important issues like jobs, GST, black money and demonetisation are missing from the whole announcement exercise. Endorsing speeches by party colleagues at the manifesto launch, Modi asserted nationalism is BJP's inspiration, inclusion its philosophy and good governance its mantra.

The party will work to cut tax and boost credit to small businesses to $14.4 billion by 2024, it added.

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