Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today welcomed centre's move to revoke Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and said the country "has become fully independent in true sense".
"Today, our country has become fully independent," the 59-year-old leader said after Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in Rajya Sabha to revoke Article 370 this morning amid opposition by the Congress, PDP, among other parties.
Centre's move is fulfillment of the dream of Sena patriach Bal Thackeray and BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Thackeray said. He also asked the opposition parties to "leave aside their political shoes" and "support sovereignty of India".
Celebrating the scrapping on Article 370, the Sena chief also distributed sweets among party workers.
The Shiv Sena is an ally of the BJP at the centre and in Maharashtra.
Earlier today, Aditya Thackeray, Uddhav's son, hailed revocation of Article 370 as a "moment of pride ". "This is exactly why we supported the NDA in Lok Sabha 2019 led by Modi ji," he tweeted.
"I pray that now with the reorganisation of Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh, the citizens there will benefit with peace, progress and prosperity, which was being held back from them for years due to its isolation from the rest of the country," he said in another tweet.
I pray that now with the reorganisation of Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh, the citizens there will benefit with peace, progress and prosperity, which was being held back from them for years due to its isolation from the rest of the country.— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) August 5, 2019
Supporting centre's move, senior party leader Sanjay Raut said the BJP did not discuss scrapping of Article 370 with Shiv Sena. "We support government's decision. Such decisions should be taken in secrecy," he told NDTV.
"Aaj Jammu & Kashmir liya hai. Kal Balochistan, PoK lenge. Mujhe vishwaas hai desh ke PM akhand Hindustan ka sapna poora karenge (Today, we have taken Jammu and Kashmir. Tomorrow, we will take Balochistan and Pak-occupied Kashmir. I am confident that PM Modi will fulfill country's dream)," Mr Raut earlier told reporters.
Speaking on Article 370, Home Minister Amit Shah told the parliament that President Ram Nath Kovind had signed an order that would come into force "at once".
He also said Jammu and Kashmir would be bifurcated into two regions. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, like Delhi, will have an assembly. Ladakh will be a Union Territory without an assembly.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)