Cong should say it welcomes Article 370 abrogation to prove its Hindutva credentials: Maha BJP chief

Pune, Apr 10 (PTI) Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on Sunday asked the Congress to prove its Hindutva credentials by announcing that it welcomes the abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

He was addressing a press conference after campaigning for BJP candidate Satyajit Kadam for the Kolhapur North Assembly bypoll due on April 12. The Congress has fielded late party MLA Chandrakant Jadhav's wife Jayashree for this seat, and she is supported by NCP and Shiv Sena. All three parties share power in the state government.

"This seat (Kolhapur North) has traditionally been with Hindutvawadi forces. Now it has been given to Congress, which does not believe in Hindutva. If they want to preserve Hindutva in Kolhapur, then Congress should announce that it welcomes the removal of the Article 370... If it does so, it will become Hindutvawadi," Patil said.

Referring to Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's statement in which he asked people to support the saffron forces in this bypoll, Patil said the CM was indirectly asking the voters to vote for BJP.

"Thackeray has appealed to people to vote for saffron in Kolhapur. Hence, voters should decide if saffron means Congress or BJP. Voters know that the saffron means not Congress but BJP. In short, Thackeray is indirectly asking them to vote for BJP," the former state minister said.

On the case filed against BJP leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil for alleged misappropriation of over Rs 57 crore funds collected to save decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant from being scrapped, Patil said, "Spending money collected for one cause is one thing and keeping them in a bank account is different. Does keeping money in bank call for action? If Somaiya has bought some property out of that money, then there could be action."