Union Finance Minister says the Sangh is sowing seeds of hatred to divide people

The Lok Sabha election to be held in 2014 is not a mere fight between two political alliances in the country but a battle between the Congress-led alliance and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which has named Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, said Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram here on Saturday.

“It will be a Mahabharat between the Congress which stands for secular ideals and development and an organisation that has all along claimed to be apolitical but has now chosen to take indirect control of its political face,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

Addressing a public meeting in the city after unveiling a statue of the former Tiruchi Congress MP L. Adaikalaraj, Mr. Chidambaram alleged that the RSS had been trying to sow seeds of evil and divide the people on communal lines. The rally addressed by Mr. Modi in Tiruchi recently was one such attempt by “the evil forces,” he said and added that he was confident that people would not allow the seeds to take root.

It was during Mr. Modi’s tenure that the Godhra riots took place and many Muslim youths were killed in encounters. “I do not approve of encounters and during my tenure as Home Minister, I had ordered the security forces that terrorists or criminals should be captured alive unless they opened fire,” he said.

Listing various development and welfare programmes of the UPA government such as the Right to Information Act, Right to Education Act, the 100-day work scheme and the Food Security Act, Mr. Chidambaram said contrary to allegations in some quarters, the Food Security Act would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu.

The State would immensely benefit from the Act as it would get about Rs. 914 crore more as central subsidy for the public distribution system.

There would not be any reduction in the grain allotment for Tamil Nadu, he said.

AICC secretary S. Thirunavukkarasar said minorities would never support Mr. Modi as a moderate leader.

“The RSS has nominated Modi as the prime ministerial candidate as there were too many contenders in the BJP. There is no such confusion in the Congress as Rahul Gandhi can become Prime Minister even if he wishes now. Hence there is no need for the Congress to announce its prime ministerial candidate,” he said.

Chief Ministers of many States had not accepted Mr. Modi. Even Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had avoided meeting him after his nomination as prime ministerial candidate. The Congress would forge the right alliance at the time of elections and would return to power, he added.