New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Friday okayed extension of President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir by another six months beginning July 3. But before that, the Lok Sabha saw Union Home Minister Amit Shah tear into the Congress even as he assured the House that assembly elections in the state will be held in a democratic manner.

While accepting that the people of J&K do not trust the Centre, Shah said Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Congress, were to be blamed for the fact that one-third of Jammu and Kashmir was not with India.

“One-third of J&K is not with us, who is responsible for it? The development of the people of J&K is our top priority, they have faced a lot and deserve development more than others,” Shah said, even as he drew a sharp reaction from Congress members.

Shah said that Article 356 (President’s Rule) has been imposed 132 times out of which Congress has authorised it 93 times. “We have never used Article 356 for political purposes to dismiss state governments but Congress has,” he said.

He also questioned why the country was divided on the basis of religion. “Who divided the country on the basis of religion. Who planted the seed of distrust in the minds of the people in J&K? It was the Congress,” he said.

“For the first time, the people are feeling that Jammu and Ladakh are also part of the state. The issues which have been pending for years have been settled by the Prime Minister and Home Minister of the country in the last year,” Shah added.

Meanwhile, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah reacted to the approval of an extension of President’s rule in the state by saying that the arguments given by Shah were unacceptable. “So the Home Minister’s argument is that because the Congress has used Article 356 more times than anyone else the Modi government is justified in denying the people of J&K an elected government. That’s an unacceptable argument,” he tweeted.

The Election Commission has said it will announce the schedule of the assembly polls in the state after the Amarnath Yatra concludes, on August 15.