New Delhi: Former BJP leader and Finance Minister in the Vajpayee government Yashwant Sinha reacted sharply to the Narendra Modi government’s move to end the special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir through an executive order.

Sinha, who in recent times has been one of the most vocal critics of the Modi government, said that the move to scrap the article was “purely political” and had nothing to do with the people of Jammu & Kashmir. He added that this whole exercise had been executed keeping in mind the Assembly elections in the BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana, to be held later this year.

He further said that if general elections were held today, the BJP will beat Rajiv Gandhi’s record of winning more than 400 seats of its own in the Lok Sabha. In 1984, a Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress won 404 seats of its own in the lower house, riding largely on the sympathy wave due to the assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in October that year.

He also said that the scrapping of the article would not be acceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and will lead to their further alienation from India.

The 81-year-old, who also held the Ministry of External Affairs under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, quit the BJP in April 2018.

The decision to do away with the provision granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir was announced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha, on Monday. The announcement came after days of massive troop deployment in the Valley triggering speculations that “something big was on the cards”.

Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, under house arrest just past midnight on Monday, were both formally arrested late last night.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the nation regarding the issue on Wednesday.