Spoke to PM on BJP 'poaching' Opposition leaders: Kharge

Mr. Kharge said party workers and voters made some persons "big leaders", who then ran away, "which is nothing but an act of cowardice"

February 17, 2024 04:58 am | Updated 04:58 am IST - Pune

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge. | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said he had recently spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the BJP “poaching” leaders from the Opposition ranks by “scaring” them.

His remarks comes days after former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan joined the BJP. Such switching of sides was an act of “cowardice”, he said after inaugurating a two-day State-level training camp held in Lonavala here for Congress functionaries.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Kharge said: "During a tea meeting in Parliament where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present, I asked him how many people are you [BJP] going to poach, as Ministers and ex-Chief Ministers are joining your fold. I asked him about the appetite [to take leaders from Opposition ranks into the ruling party]."

"He [PM] said what could he do if people want to join the BJP. I told him they [BJP] are carrying out this work [poaching] by scaring people. He said these people want to join because of their [government's] work," the Congress chief added.

Slamming turncoats, Mr. Kharge said party workers and voters made some persons "big leaders", who then ran away, "which is nothing but an act of cowardice".

"But we do not have to get scared. If we are scared, we will perish, But if we fight, we will live and one day victory will be ours. I am sure you are all ready for this," he told his party's workers.

Mr. Kharge pointed out that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said that minimum support price (MSP) will get legal guarantee if his party comes to power at the Centre. This assurance has been welcomed by people, he said.

Several farm outfits from Punjab have begun a march towards New Delhi seeking legal guarantee for MSP, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers as well as farm debt waiver.

Mr. Kharge alleged Mr. Modi had repeatedly lied in the past 10 years, while unemployment was increasing. "Despite this, if people are heaping praise on him, then the country will head towards disaster. There will be no democracy in the country and the Constitution will be finished," Mr. Kharge said.

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