NEW DELHI : The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to make national integration and security a key election issue in the upcoming polls in three states.

The first glimpse of the plan was visible on Friday in Jind, Haryana, where party president Amit Shah had gone to launch the election campaign of the BJP in the state. In the course of the public meeting, Shah categorically stated that the abrogation of Article 370 had not happened for 70 years but the Union government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done it within 75 days of returning to power at the Centre.

Assembly elections are likely to take place in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand later this year. This is not the first time that the BJP has made national integration and security a major election issue. During the 2019 general elections as well, party leaders had focussed on talking about the airstrikes in Ballot, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and surgical strikes carried out by the armed forces against terrorist hideouts across the Line of Control in the first term of the National Democratic Alliance government under PM Modi.

"The abrogation of Article 370 and making triple talaq illegal are the biggest achievements of the government. It is obvious that the party will talk about these in the upcoming polls. The Congress did not support the move of the government, so now it will have to explain its position to the people," said a senior BJP leader from Haryana.

Senior leaders of the Congress said the party is mindful of the challenges that the recent developments, particularly with respect to removal of Article 370, will pose given that the ruling BJP is likely to make it a key poll plank in the upcoming state elections.

"After our defeat in the general elections and the subsequent leadership crisis, we are aware that the BJP will have an upper hand when it comes to the issue of national security. What has made our situation more troublesome is that some of our leaders have gone public in supporting the government's move," a senior Congress leader from Haryana said requesting anonymity.

"While a clearer picture will emerge once campaign strategy meetings take place, we are going to stick to the stand we took in Parliament and convey to the people that the manner in which the government is handling the situation is undemocratic," the leader added.

With Rahul Gandhi announcing his resignation as Congress president soon after the national election results, after over two months of uncertainty Sonia Gandhi came back as party chief last week. The Congress' worries over the Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand polls are grave given that this is the first set of assembly elections since the Lok Sabha polls. After the 2014 national election, the party had lost elections in all the three states to the BJP.

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