Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) trying to assume a political role and its support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the guise of “protecting the Hindu religion” are dangerous developments as they went against the secular credentials of the Indian polity and the Constitution.

Mr. Kharge told presspersons here on Saturday that the BJP cadre had been pushed to the background and the RSS cadre had taken the centre stage in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

“The voters have time and again proved their secular credentials and will see through the communal games of the RSS and the BJP this time too and show them their right place.”

Asked about the strategy that the Congress would adopt to counter the RSS-BJP challenge, Mr. Kharge said the Congress was not unusually perturbed by these developments. The RSS, which stood solidly behind the BJP and remote-controlled every acts of the party in the past, had now come out open and this would only help secular forces to close their ranks to defeat the fascist elements, the Minister said.

Reiterating his party’s contention that the Lok Sabha elections would be a fight between the RSS and the Congress, Mr. Kharge said it was high time that all secular parties came together and supported the Congress to defeat the fascist forces and save the country from total disorder.

Secular parties had joined hands with the Congress inside Parliament to pass several pro-people Bills such as the Food Security Bill and the Right to Education Bill, he said, and added that he was confident of such forces joining hands to take on the threat of the communal forces.

On Modi

Mr. Kharge took strong exception to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi speaking about the country’s foreign policy. He was talking “as if he (Mr. Modi) has already become the Prime Minister”, Mr. Kharge said.

While the BJP was quiet on foreign policies and bilateral issues, Mr. Modi was making statements on these issues, he said, and sought to know whether these statements were endorsed by the BJP leadership.

To a question, Mr. Kharge said that the Congress was confident of the UPA coming back to power for the third term, based on its performance and implementation of pro-people policies.

He refused to comment on the controversial remarks of AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was in touch with some Muslim youths from the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in U.P., and said that he was not fully aware of the context when the statement was made.

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