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Updated: October 19, 2010 11:40 IST

Congress sullying our image: Gadkari

Amruta Byatnal
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Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari. File photo
Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari. File photo

Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari on Monday said the Congress was besmirching the BJP's image by accusing it of being anti-Muslim. “We are not anti-Muslim, we are anti-terrorism,” he said at a ‘meet the press' organised by the Pune Union of Working Journalists here.

He reiterated several times that the party was caught between ‘image' and ‘reality.'

“In the last 62 years, the Congress has given Muslims only the jobs of truck driver and cleaner, and paan shop owner. One must realise that terrorism has only one colour and that is black. Secularism for the Congress means supporting terrorists.”

Mr. Gadkari asked why Afzal Guru, who was sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case, was still not hanged, and why the Congress was supporting outfits like the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). “They are obviously doing it to gather vote banks.”

The BJP's stand was that Hindus and Muslims should come together to fight terrorism. “In the nine States where the BJP rules, there have been no instances of any discrimination against the Muslims.”

On irregularities in the Commonwealth Games (CWG), Mr. Gadkari said the party had been instructed to be silent till the Games were over and until after the ‘foreign guests' left the country for the sake of national pride. “But now we will raise this issue in Parliament. Puneites should be more concerned about what Mr. Kalmadi [organising committee chairman] has done. The Delhi government and the Centre are to blame equally.”

Referring to a recent ‘sting operation' which allegedly exposed Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre, he said these instances were reflective of the ‘Congress culture.'

Mr. Gadkari said workshops and training sessions were being held regularly for BJP workers in inculcate in them the values of development, service and good governance. Asked whether BJP MLAs in Karnataka had undergone this training, he admitted that not all party workers were ‘ideal.'

“We have a mix of people. But we have learnt from our mistakes. We will try and improve.”

Asked to comment on the ‘dynasty politics' of the Shiv Sena, he said, “I have no reaction on this issue.” Why was he open about opposing this phenomenon in Congress, but not in the Sena? He said it wasn't necessary that he should react to everything.

Clarifying the BJP's stand, Mr. Gadkari said it was against the high number of infiltrators in Assam, but the Congress was tolerating this trend for vote-bank politics. The BJP would soon launch a northeast vision document.

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