BJP says PM Modi works for everyone, Cong alleges ‘Hindu-Muslim’ politics his only agenda

New Delhi/Lucknow, May 15 (PTI) The BJP and the Congress on Wednesday fired fresh salvos at each other following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that he never does Hindu-Muslim politics, as the ruling party asserted that his government has worked for development of all without any discrimination.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, however, said it is Modi whose speeches have featured words like “mutton-chicken” and “Hindu-Muslim” and said he should rather talk about development issues.

With the Congress and its allies accusing Modi of communal politics in his campaign, the prime minister had told News 18 on Tuesday that he won’t be fit for public life if he starts doing Hindu-Muslim, while citing his government’s development schemes to fend off their attack.

Former Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Modi ended communal appeasement with his inclusive governance, asserting that his numerous welfare schemes have benefitted the poorest people without any caste, religious or regional biases.

Even Modi’s critics cannot deny that his schemes have benefitted everyone, the BJP leader said.

Union minister Giriraj Singh said the Narendra Modi government has never discriminated against Muslims, while charging the Congress-led opposition with a bias in favour of its minority vote bank.

“When Modi disbursed gas cylinders, free ration, houses for the poor and toilets, the beneficiaries included both Hindus and Muslims since there was no discrimination”, Singh said.

“This was in contrast with the previous Congress-led regimes, when Muslims were given preference and even the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could openly pitch for the minority community having the first claim on resources”, said Singh, who holds Panchayati Raj and Rural Development portfolios in the Modi cabinet.

The Congress, however, alleged that the “outgoing PM” has had no agenda barring Hindu-Muslim politics as ‘Modi ki Guarantee’ has “fallen flat” and ‘400 paar’ given a “silent burial”.

Addressing a press conference in Lucknow, Kharge asked, “Had the prime minister not said mutton, beef, chicken, fish and mangalsutra? These words are not mine but his… Why is the PM not seeking votes on the work he did in the last 10 years.”

BJP spokesperson R P Singh claimed it was leaders of the Congress and its allies which have spoken in favour of reservation for Muslims and strengthening personal laws, inviting a rejoinder from the prime minister.

The Congress manifesto, he said, promises strengthening personal laws, alleging that it implies implementation of parts of sharia. RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav has favoured reservation for Muslims, he added.

“The BJP’s agenda is for the country’s advancement,” Singh said, noting that the his party’s manifesto for expanding health insurance, housing, water and electricity facilities and boosting infrastructure is meant for all sections of society.

Slamming the prime minister, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the nation knows very well that “the outgoing PM is a pathological liar”.

“But even by his own pathetic standards, Mr. Modi’s latest claim that he does not do Hindu-Muslim politics shows the new depths he reaches daily in lying. Since April 19th 2024, it is a matter of public record that cannot be erased from our collective memory – even if Mr. Modi erases it from his own – that the outgoing PM has blatantly and brazenly used communal language, symbols, and allusions,” Ramesh charged on X.

Another BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said Modi has always considered over 140 crore population of the country as one, and it is the opposition which has tried to stick “Hindu-Muslim” charge on to him.

“Modi has never done politics in the name of Hindu-Muslim,” he said.

The issue had taken the centrestage following his speech in Rajasthan last month, in which he had attacked the Congress over its alleged agenda for redistribution of wealth and Muslim reservation.

Modi said he was shocked at such an allegation and had cited his government numerous welfare measures aimed at saturation in their reach to make his point.

He asserted that he won’t be fit for public life if he does “Hindu-Muslim”.

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