Stung by attack on Narendra Modi, BJP on Saturday hit back, saying the ‘helpless’ Congress was using false propaganda to discredit its Prime Ministerial candidate even as it engages in Muslim appeasement for votes.
BJP President Rajnath Singh slammed the Congress, a day after Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi attacked Modi over his kind of politics. He also accused the Congress of practising politics of dividing people along religious lines.
Addressing the BJP National Council here, he lambasted the Congress for attacking Modi for unrelenting court cases and ‘lowly’ remarks.
“Congress is getting defeated in legal battles as well… Feeling helpless against the BJP and its PM candidate, Congress has resorted to propaganda and legal tangles… Congress is always trying to attack Modi using different tactics,” Singh said.
Claiming that Congress has launched a tirade against Modi on basis of ‘lies and misinformation’, the BJP chief referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent remarks that Modi becoming PM would be ‘disastrous’ for the country.
These remarks were “irresponsible and highly condemnable.. His comments were neither based on facts nor dignified for a person who holds a constitutional post,” he said.
Rajnath Singh added that it was Manmohan’s tenure which had been a disaster while Gujarat had become a model state under Modi.
Accusing Congress of indulging in false propaganda and vote bank politics, BJP said it has sought to discredit Modi through all means.
Turning to 2002 Gujarat riots, Singh termed these as ‘painful’ and said the Modi government had taken stern and swift action against the rioters.
He said the SIT has given a clean chit to Modi in its report submitted to Supreme Court in 2011 itself and a few days back a court in Ahmedabad has dismissed all allegations against him, the BJP chief said.
Condemning Sonia Gandhi’s statement that BJP is a communal party, Rajnath Singh said it is the ruling party which is communal.
“I want to ask Sonia Gandhi as to which government’s Prime Minister had said that Muslims have the first right on the resources of the country. It was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is Congress which has tried to divide the country. It is Congress which is communal,” the BJP chief said.
“India was divided on religious lines. Pakistan is unable to protect minorities. It is a cause of concern for us. BJP will do something for them,” he said.
Pointing fingers at Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, he said the Hindu terror remarks were made by the Congress-led UPA government.
“Also, for the first time, a headcount in the defence forces was done on the basis of religion in this government,” Singh said Rajnath Singh claimed that Gujarat has become a model state under Modi’s leadership, despite which the Centre has continued its ‘witch-hunt’ against him for the past 11 years.
“If a court absolves him (Modi) in one case then the government keeps some other conspiracy ready for him,” he said.
Singh said Modi had been a victim of propaganda to label him ‘communal’ despite clean chit from courts and investigation agencies.
Singh said that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was trying to appropriate credit for passage of Lokpal Bill though the legislation owed its existence to the efforts of social activist Anna Hazare and BJP leaders had also put pressure on the government.
The BJP President also targeted Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for his comments that Modi will never become the Prime Minister in the 21st Century but can sell tea.
“This shows a feudal mindset,” he said. He used Modi’s tea vendor background to attack Congress over ‘dynastic’ politics.
“There is internal democracy only in the BJP where a tea-seller can become the PM candidate while one engaged in farming can become the party president (referring to himself). In Congress, if you are not born in a certain family, you have no future,” Rajnath Singh said.
“You cannot even imagine this in the Congress where the president and other top posts can be held only by those born in a particular family,” Singh said.
He also walked a fine line on Article 370 for Jammu & Kashmir, saying if it causes development in the state then they had no problem in continuing with it but if the article was a ‘conspiracy’ to keep the state from joining national mainstream, BJP will seek to repeal it.
If elected to power, BJP government would consider whether Hindu immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh can be given refugee status, he said.
BJP is in favour of Women Reservation Bill and is the only party which has given reservation to women in organisational posts, he said.
Comparing the performance of NDA and UPA governments on economic and foreign fronts, Singh said India prospered and grew in stature under Atal Bihari Vajpayee while the economy has slumped under Manmohan Singh and neighbours were violating our sovereignty at will.
“If anybody stopped price rise, it was Vajpayee. Economy under UPA has lost its credibility. Even Indian investors are shy of investing in India… But Indian success story is not over, it is waiting for BJP to return to power,” he said.
He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have learnt diplomacy from Vajpayee, noting that China had relinquished its claim on Sikkim because of Vajpayee’s diplomatic skills.
Indian should not seek ‘Most Favoured Nation’ from Pakistan, he said. Speaking about Modi, he said, that his party has presented a formidable face whose presence will deter enemies.