Gambhir campaigns for Jitendra Singh in J&K

Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir. PTI file photo

Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir on Thursday kept up his attack on former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti over their statements in defence of Article 370, saying "this type of politics will no longer be entertained in the country".

Gambhir, who recently joined the BJP, addressed election rallies in support of Union minister Jitendra Singh at Ram Nagar in Udhampur district and Nagri in Kathua district.

"From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is one and the dream of having separate prime minister (for Jammu and Kashmir) will never be fulfilled. We will not allow it to happen," Gambhir told reporters in Kathua district.

Singh is seeking re-election from the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat, spread over six districts of Udhampur, Kathua, Reasi, Ramban, Kishtwar and Doda districts.

Gambhir and Abdullah exchanged sharp words after the National Conference leader stated that his party would strive to restore Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy that could include having a 'Wazir-e-Azam' (prime minister).

The BJP in its manifesto has reiterated its commitment to repealing Article 370, which grants the state special powers.

PDP leader Mufti claimed that scrapping Article 370 will mean India's Constitution will no longer be applicable in the state and that if Indians do not understand it, they will "disappear" and their "story will be over".

Terming the statements of the former chief ministers as "unfortunate", the former cricketer alleged that they have done nothing for the state despite being in power for the last over 30 years.

"They do not think beyond their own welfare. They will achieve nothing from this type of politics and are making such statements after getting exposed and finding themselves irrelevant," he said.

He said their children are studying outside the state, have bought properties outside the state. "But, this type of politics will not be entertained anymore," Gambhir said.

Addressing the rallies, Gambhir said he was inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join the world's largest political party.

He said Modi had ensured large-scale development and was making continuous efforts to turn the country into a global superpower.

"Modi is the only prime minister who visited the state eight to 10 times over the past five years. No other prime minister had visited the state so many times in his tenure," he said.

This shows Modi's "dedication and his resolve to pull out the state from crisis", he added.

Gambhir appealed to the people of Udhampur constituency to vote for Union minister Singh, saying he is "most hardworking, dedicated and sincere and had ensured development of his constituency".

The former opening batsman recently exchanged sharp barbs with both Abdullah and Mufti.

In a Twitter face-off with Mufti over Article 370, Gambhir had said, "This is India not a blot like you that it will disappear," drawing a sharp response from her who later blocked him. 

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Gambhir campaigns for Jitendra Singh in J&K

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