Gandhinagar, India - January 18, 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inaugural session at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, at Mahatma Mandir Exhibition cum Convention Centre, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, on Friday, January 18, 2019. (Photo by Siddharaj Solanki / Hindustan Times)(HT Photo)
Gandhinagar, India - January 18, 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inaugural session at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, at Mahatma Mandir Exhibition cum Convention Centre, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, on Friday, January 18, 2019. (Photo by Siddharaj Solanki / Hindustan Times)(HT Photo)

BJP says grand alliance’s ‘sole agenda is to defeat Modi’

BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey said Congress president Rahul Gandhi had been accusing Modi of corruption in the controversial Rafale fighter aircraft deal with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls, likely to be held in April-May.
Dehradun | By Deep Joshi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2019 09:59 PM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s state unit hit out at the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), dubbing it as a disparate group of politicians pursuing contrasting ideologies, and whose “sole agenda” was to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At a press conference in Dehradun, BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey said Congress president Rahul Gandhi had been accusing Modi of corruption in the controversial Rafale fighter aircraft deal with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls, likely to be held in April-May.

“As far as we are concerned he (Gandhi) stands rejected...but he has matured a bit (as a politician),” Pandey said.

“The Congress adopted a similar strategy when it launched its propaganda against the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh on the issue of Vyapam (the alleged recruitment scam involving politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen that was unearthed in 2013),” Pandey said. “But they dropped the issue in the assembly polls (held in November last year)...what do you make of that?” she claimed.

Pandey alleged that Gandhi had been following a similar strategy on the Rafale deal as was evident from his sustained campaign against the Modi government even after the Supreme Court dismissed the pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into the deal. “There is nothing left in that (Rafale) issue after defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement on the deal (in Parliament),” Pandey claimed, adding that Gandhi’s focused campaign on the Rafale deal was because “there had not been a single corruption case reported under the Modi government”.

While asserting that the BJP “rejects” Gandhi, Pandey said the Congress leader “has matured a bit”.

Pandey also came down heavily on the coming together of Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party with the likelihood that more regional parties may join what is being projected as the grand alliance (or mahagathbandhan).

Pandey said that the politicians from contrasting ideological backgrounds were trying to form a grand alliance with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls. “They hold mutually contradictory opinions on (various) issues....they can’t pursue similar principles,” she claimed.

“What brings such disparate groups on one platform is their common agenda to remove Modi from the political scene,” Pandey alleged. “The coming together of so many politicians will in fact go in the favour of our party,” she said, while hitting at BSP supremo Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav for entering into an electoral alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

“There is no ideological similarity between the SP and the BSP, and between them and the Trinamool Congress chief (West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee),” Pandey said. She also accused Bannerjee of being vindictive towards the BJP cadre. “She is so vindictive that she has not allowed the BJP to take out its rath yatra.” The SC judges, hearing the BJP’s plea to grant it permission, had said that the state government’s apprehension that the yatra could lead to a possible law-and-order situation cannot be called unfounded.

Pandey also called “historic” the Centre’s decision to grant 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutes to the poor from the general category.

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