On course to achieve 400 + target, Congress not even main challenger, says Rajnath Singh : The Tribune India

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On course to achieve 400 + target, Congress not even main challenger, says Rajnath Singh

‘Indian troops holding all positions along LAC since April 2020 standoff’

On course to achieve 400 + target, Congress not even main challenger, says Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister

Aditi Tandon & Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13

Senior BJP leader and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday asserted that the ruling BJP was on track to achieve the target of 400-plus seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and the Congress had failed to emerge even as its principal challenger.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune on the day the fourth phase of General Election concluded, the veteran BJP leader and two-term Lok Sabha MP, running from Lucknow, said the Congress must refrain from “playing divisive politics of caste and religion in the name of caste census and minority quota”.

Singh, 72, said the Congress was “confusing minorities by promising them what the Constitution didn’t permit” and asked the national party, once a dominant force, to “introspect why it is struggling to secure even the Leader of Opposition’s post in the Lok Sabha”.

On the standoff with China along LAC, the Defence Minister said Indian troops were holding all positions along the Line of Actual Control, the de facto boundary with China, while “positive signals” were emerging from the ongoing military commander-level talks between both countries. There have been 21 rounds of talks to defuse tensions along the LAC since the April 2020 standoff.

He said Pakistan was not a threat and downplayed China as a threat too, adding that all three services had agreed to the concept of Theatre Commands. Singh also allayed concerns around the Agniveer scheme, which the Opposition is raking up as a poll issue. A former BJP chief, Rajnath Singh dismissed AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal’s insinuations that PM Narendra Modi would retire upon attaining 75 years of age in September 2025 and Union Home Minister Amit Shah would take over the reins of government should the BJP get elected this time.

“I was BJP president in 2009 and again in 2013 when the question of age of leaders was discussed. There is no age bar rule in the BJP constitution, there never was. Yeh ek fitoor hai bas (this is just gross irrationality),” Singh said, asserting that the BJP believed in social empowerment of the deprived and not doling out freebies.

On PoK, currently witnessing upheaval, the minister said, “We do not need to capture the PoK. One day such a situation will arise that people of PoK will themselves demand inclusion in India.

#BJP #Congress #Lok Sabha #Rajnath Singh

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