Congress attacks Modi, says PM using religion to polarise voters

Congresss says Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graveyard comment was an attempt to polarise voters in the name of religion; asks Election Commission to restrain Modi

india Updated: Feb 20, 2017 14:48 IST
UP elections,Narendra Modi,Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a campaign rally at Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh.(HT file photo)

The Congress has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of polarising voters in Uttar Pradesh through communal statements and asked the Election Commission to refrain him from bringing “disrepute” to his post.

The Congress was reacting to Modi accusing the Samajwadi Party government of discrimination on the basis of religion.

“The Prime Minister is invoking communalism in order to polarise voters. The ECI should take note of this because it is a clear violation of its rules and regulations. He has brought disrepute to his post and has violated the principles for which he took his oath,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said on Sunday.

“These conservative ideas are subscribed by the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and like-minded organisations. It seems the Prime Minister is unable to come out of this mentality. We hope the ECI will take action in this.”

The Congress and SP are fighting the seven-phase polls in the state jointly.

The Supreme Court last month banned the practice of seeking votes in the name of religion, caste, race, community or language, in what is being viewed as a far-reaching verdict ahead of assembly elections in five states.

SP leader Abu Azmi also said that Modi was just trying to create “polarisation” by making such remarks.

“Muslim rulers ruled this country for 900 years, but they never showed discrimination between Holi, Diwali and Bakr-id,” Azmi said.

“It has been proved by the Congress and Samajwadi Party alliance that the secular votes will not be divided in the state. Soon, the way Prime Minister Modi was playing politics by gathering the small community votes is going to end,” he added.

On Sunday, Modi drew a parallel between Hindu and Muslim festivals to accuse the Akhilesh Yadav administration of practising discrimination on the basis of religion.

“If you create kabristaan (graveyard) in a village, then a shamshaan (cremation ground) should be created. If electricity is given uninterrupted in Ramzan, then it should be given in Diwali without a break. Bhedbhaav nahin hona chahiye (there should be no discrimination,” Modi told a rally in Fatehpur, apparently playing the Hindutva card in the politically crucial state.

First Published: Feb 20, 2017 10:07 IST