Training guns on the Congress over its president M Mallikarjun Kharge's 'venomous snake' barb at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on April 28 said the party and its leaders have lost their mind.
Noting that Mr. Modi is welcomed across the world with a lot of respect, he said the Congress cannot instigate people with such statements, because the support for the Prime Minister will increase, as much as they abuse him.
“Congress is lacking on issues, in the last nine years Prime Minister Narendra Modi has increased India’s pride in the world, he has worked to make India prosperous, he has made India’s infrastructure strong, he has made India’s borders safe. Wherever Modi ji goes across the world people there welcome him with ‘Modi-Modi’ slogans,” Mr. Shah said.
Addressing a public meeting in Dharwad district, he said, “Congress president Kharge says our leader Modi, whom the whole world respects and welcomes, is like a venomous snake.” “I want to ask you, can you make the Congress party, which has compared Modi to a venomous snake, victorious in the election?”, he said
"The same Congress gives the slogan ‘Modi teri kabar khudegi’, Sonia Gandhi says 'Maut Ka Saudagar', Priyanka Gandhi says 'neechi jati ke log' (people of low caste), and he (Kharge) says 'Vishela Samp' (venomous snake), Congress people, you have lost your mind. How much ever you abuse Mr. Modi, lotus will bloom," Mr. Shah said.
By abusing Mr. Modi, Congress cannot instigate people of Karnataka, he further said adding that, "If you abuse Modi, support for him will increase."
Addressing a campaign rally in poll bound Karnataka, which votes on May 10, Mr. Kharge on Thursday likened Mr. Modi to a venomous snake. As a row erupted, he later sought to clarify that his remarks were not aimed at the Prime Minister but at the ruling BJP.
Among the Prime Ministers of India, Modi is the only one, who was born in a poor family as a son of a tea seller, Mr. Shah said. After assuming the high office he is working for the betterment of crores of poor people.
"Congress always speaks about Garibi Hatao (getting rid of poverty), but did not do anything for the poor," he added.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, state Minister Shankar Patil Munenakoppa among others were present.
Speaking about Congress leaders lodging a police complaint against him, Shah said, "they have filed it because I said we have banned PFI (Popular Front of India), we have made Karnataka safe. I don't fear, I will say it once again that the BJP government by banning PFI has made Karnataka safe."
"If you (Congress) have any objection, come and tell the people of Karnataka, why PFI should continue to function. The PFI killed our leader Praveen Nettaru and several of our youth, and were indulging in dividing the country....for the sake of vote bank politics, Congress had carried PFI on its head, but the Narendra Modi government put PFI leaders behind the bars," he added.
Congress leaders on Thursday complained to the police against Shah for his alleged statement that if their party won the upcoming elections, then Karnataka would be “afflicted with riots", and claimed he had said it with the clear intent of disrupting the communal harmony in the State.
In this election on one side there is Congress under Rahul Baba's (Rahul Gandhi) leadership, while on the other side there is BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the Minister said.
This election is to decide between a double engine government under Mr. Modi which will take Karnataka forward, or Congress' reverse gear government which will take the state backward.
Highlighting various pro-farmer and irrigation-related programmes of the BJP governments in the State and at the Centre, including solving the inter-state water issues like Mahadayi, Shah lisited out programmes such as building houses, providing water connections, among others, aimed at supporting the poor.
"Congress' 'prince' cannot get rid of poverty, because they don't know about poverty," he said, in a dig at Rahul Gandhi.
Averring that there is no place for reservation on the basis of religion in the Constitution, Mr. Shah defended the Karnataka government's decision to scrap the four per cent reservation for Muslims under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota and to distribute it equally among the dominant Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities.
"For the sake of vote bank politics, Congress leaders are saying that they will bring back 4 per cent Muslim reservation, I want to ask Congress whose quota they will reduce for this, whether Vokkaligas' or Lingayats' or SC/STs' ?. BJP will not allow Muslim reservation to return in Karnataka. This is our promise to the people of Karnataka," he added.