Want 400 seats to prevent Congress from bringing back Article 370 and locking Ram Temple: PM Modi

PM Modi targets Congress over 2008 Mumbai terror attacks

May 07, 2024 09:54 pm | Updated 10:18 pm IST - Mumbai/Bhopal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during a public gathering in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh on May 7.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during a public gathering in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh on May 7. | Photo Credit: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 7 said he needed 400 seats in the Lok Sabha election to prevent the Congress from “bringing back Article 370 [in Kashmir] and putting a lock on Ayodhya Ram Temple”, drawing parallels to the Rajiv Gandhi government overturning the Supreme Court ruling in 1985 in the Shah Bano case, which he characterised as appeasement politics.

Speaking at campaign rallies in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidates, Mr. Modi accused the Congress of disrespecting the security personnel killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. He was referring to recent comments by Maharashtra Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar that the then Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare was not killed by Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, but by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated policeman.

“The sole agenda of the INDI alliance is to revive Article 370, scrap CAA [Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019] and do away with free ration supply. A senior Congress leader, who quit the party recently, has revealed that shehzada [referring to Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi] called a meeting of select people after the 2019 SC verdict in the Ram temple case and said if his party comes back to power, the apex court decision will be overturned just like his father [Rajiv Gandhi] did in the Shah Bano matter,” Mr. Modi said.

The Supreme Court, in 1985, had ruled in favour of Shah Bano, a Muslim woman from Indore who had sought maintenance from her husband after divorce, but the then-Rajiv Gandhi government overturned the judgement through an Act.

The Prime Minister said he wanted 400 seats to stop all the conspiracies of the Congress and the INDIA bloc. “Modi needs 400 seats so that the Congress does not bring back Article 370 in Kashmir or put a ‘Babri lock’ on Ram Temple in Ayodhya or gift away the nation’s vacant land and islands to other nations. Modi needs 400 seats so that the Congress does not break into the reservation given to SCs, STs, and OBCs by Baba Saheb [Dr. B.R. Ambedkar] and the Constitution for its vote bank or declare all castes of its vote bank as OBC overnight,” Mr. Modi said.

He urged the voters to ensure that the grand old party does not win a single Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra, stating that June 4, counting day, would mark the end of the Opposition alliance. “The BJP and NDA is receiving tremendous support from the people… the third phase of polls has made it clear that June 4 marks the expiry date of the INDI alliance,” he said and criticised the grand old party for allegedly supporting terrorists. He questioned the party’s vision for the country.

The Prime Minister was campaigning for the BJP’s Sujay Vikhe Patil (Ahmednagar), the Shiv Sena’s Sadashiv Lokhande (Shirdi), and senior BJP leader Panjaka Munde (Beed).

In Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar and Khargone Lok Sabha constituencies, he was addressing rallies for Savitri Thakur and Gajendra Singh Patel, respectively.

The Prime Minister also hit out at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad for advocating reservation to the Muslim community. “One of their [INDIA bloc] leaders who has eaten the animal’s fodder and has been convicted by the court, even by the Supreme Court, in the corruption case and is out on bail due to health issues, is saying not only that Muslims should get a reservation but the entire reservation should be given to Muslims. Means they want the entire reservation to be given to Muslims by snatching it from SCs, STs, and OBCs,” he alleged.

Mr. Modi accused the Congress of openly playing the game of appeasement and vote bank politics. He also criticised the INDIA bloc for appealing for “vote jihad”. The Congress “has some connection with the 10 terrorists who entered Mumbai in November 2008” and created mayhem, he alleged. “People are asking the Congress, ‘Yeh rishta kya kehlata hai’ (what is this relation called?). During the Congress rule, terrorists were welcomed in the PM house. A top Congress leader shed tears after the Batla House encounter in Delhi. I want to ask Congress if it wants to bring back these old days? But Modi is standing like a chattan (rock) in front of you,” he said.

He also criticised the Congress manifesto, claiming it prioritised appeasement over genuine welfare measures and had the imprints of the Muslim League. “At the same time, national security and development are the two Modi guarantees along with farmers’ welfare,” he said.

In an apparent reference to remarks made on Mr. Gandhi by a Pakistan leader, Mr. Modi said: “A team is losing (in Lok Sabha polls) so the ‘B’ team from across the border has been activated and it is encouraging the Congress.

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