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Kharge’s Challenge to Modi on Muslim League Impact on Congress Manifesto

Kharge’s Challenge to Modi on Muslim League Impact on Congress Manifesto

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NEW DELHI, Apr 23: Throwing a strong challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his twin jabs of a Muslim League imprint on the party’s manifesto and an alleged promise of “wealth redistribution to infiltrators,” Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday said the PM should stop his attempts at dividing society and grant him time so that he can explain the document’s contents.

In a series of speeches at election rallies this month, the PM had said the promises made in Congress’ manifesto were reminiscent of the thoughts that the Muslim League had before Independence. In a rally in Rajasthan on Sunday, PM Modi had also given rise to a controversy by claiming that the Congress intended to seize people’s property and redistribute it to Muslims.  “They will not even leave your ‘mangalsutra,” he had cautioned the women.

Addressing a gathering in Kerala’s Wayanad – Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s constituency – on Tuesday, Mr Kharge took all the allegations head-on.  “PM Modi says the Congress Manifesto is a Muslim League manifesto. I request him, if he gives me time, I will take our manifesto and explain it to him. Where are we saying that something is only for Muslims? We are doing things for all. Our manifesto is for the poor, farmers, youth women and everybody. He just wants to divide the society and keep talking about Hindu-Muslim,” the Congress president said.

Referring to the Congress’ promises for the youth and women, Mr Kharge continued, “Yuva Nyay is for all. Naari Shakti is for all. It is not only for Muslims, not only for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, those below the poverty line. It is for all. During the UPA era, we have given some rights without the people asking for them. For example, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee was given by Sonia Gandhi and the BJP had opposed it.”

“They said that by bringing in MGNREGA, Congress was bringing poverty to the country. We made MGNREGA a right, education a right, food security a right. These things can’t be taken away even if PM Modi and (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah wish to do so. These are permanent rights brought by the UPA government,” he added.

Keeping up his attack on the Prime Minister, Mr Kharge said he has toured the world and the country, but hasn’t visited violence-hit Manipur. “Rahul Gandhi went there, consoled the people and told them, ‘Don’t lose heart. I am there’,” he said. The controversy over the PM’s “infiltrator” remarks has continued to be on the boil. While the Congress has accused the PM of trying to play a communal card and divert attention from issues, the BJP has hit back and said the PM called a spade a spade and echoed people’s sentiments. The party has also cited a clip from a 2006 speech by then PM Manmohan Singh to bolster his claims.

(Manas Dasgupta)



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