Congress is now looking for allies abroad, says PM Modi
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Congress is now looking for allies abroad, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing the ‘Karyakarta Mahakumbh’ (grand assembly of party workers) to mark the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, the co-founder of BJP’s fore-runner, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

Madhya Pradesh Elections 2018 Updated: Sep 25, 2018 23:51 IST
Ranjan
Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
PM Modi,Termites,Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (BJP Live/Twitter)

A day after his party colleagues referred to the role of a foreign hand in the ongoing Rafale controversy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that after failing to forge an alliance in India, the Congress is looking for an ally abroad and accused the grand old party of indulging in vote-bank politics, which, he said, has destroyed the country over the past seven decades.

He acknowledged the attack directed at him by the Congress in recent days and said that “there is not an abuse in the dictionary that has not been used against me... but the more muck you throw at me, the more the lotus blooms,” referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s symbol.

“The politics of (the) vote bank has destroyed the country like termites (destroy things),” Modi said, adding that the Opposition was doing this for the sake of power even at the cost of damaging the social fabric. “But we believe in ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (with everyone; development for all),” he added while addressing a BJP worker’s meet at Bhopal, the capital of poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. Interestingly, his reference to ‘termites’ comes days after his colleague and party president Amit Shah referred to illegal immigrants as termites.

Modi held up the Congress’s response to the instant triple talaq law (it supported the law in the Lok Sabha and opposed it in the Rajya Sabha, asking for it to be sent to a parliamentary panel) as one example of “vote bank”’ politics. “Even Islamic countries in the world didn’t accept triple talaq. But there was a politics of vote bank... by a party which was headed by a woman,” he said.

Without mentioning the name of the country and the context, Modi said : “Congress party Hindustan main gathbandhan karne me safal nahi ho rahi hai. Aur agar mil bhi jaaye to ye mel milaap sambhav nahi dikhta hai. Aur isliye Bharat ke baahar gathbandhan khoja ja raha hai. Duniya ka koi desh ye ab tay karega ki Hindustan ka PM kaun bane. (Congress party is not succeeding in forging an alliance in the country. And if they get allies this alliance doesn’t seem possible. Therefore, an alliance is being searched for outside India. Will any other country decided who will be India’s PM).”

In recent days, the Congress has been accused by Modi’s colleagues of running an orchestrated campaign with former French president Francois Hollande to embarrass the Indian government and providing fuel to Pakistan to attack India.

Referring to the Congress, the Prime Minister said the 125-year-old party was not willing to introspect as to why it has been reduced to just 44 (seats in the Lok Sabha). He said the BJP too had lost 1984 general elections badly but it didn’t abuse electronic voting machines or curse the Congress for its defeat.

The Congress questioned the PM’s silence on Rafale and on rising fuel prices. “The Prime Minister didn’t speak a single word on the Rafale deal or his government’s performance in view of skyrocketing prices of diesel, petrol and LPG and steep fall in rupee’s value vis-a-vis US dollar,” said Congress media in-charge Shobha Oza. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s 2015 decision to buy 36 Rafale aircraft in a government to government deal from France has become controversial. It replaced an earlier deal of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to buy 18 planes and have 108 assembled in India by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

The Congress claims the NDA is paying three times the price it negotiated and that one of the offset deals signed by Dassault, the maker of Rafale, favours Reliance Defence at the cost of HAL. The government has denied this and says it has no role in the selection of offset partners.

First Published: Sep 25, 2018 15:01 IST