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Outreach to minority, warning to majority: PM Modi’s new poll pitch

Reissues ‘Congress' wealth redistribution plan warning’; flags Haj quota, criminalisation of triple talaq, as BJP government policies

Outreach to minority, warning to majority: PM Modi’s new poll pitch

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Aligarh, on Monday, April 22, 2024. PTI

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, April 22

A day after he rattled the opposition ranks with “Congress will redistribute all your wealth to people with more kids”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clear shape to his new poll pitch as the electioneering for the 18th General Election picks up pace.

Addressing a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh on Monday, Modi employed two pronged canvassing strategy -- a repetition of “opposition's plans to survey and usurp everyone's wealth for redistribution” warning for the larger majority and detailing of the BJP government's pro Muslim work for the principal minority.

While he again warned citizens against “Congress’ prince (read Rahul Gandhi's) Maoist plan to assess and redistribute people's wealth and assets to those who don't have much”, the PM today made a massive Muslim outreach saying opposition INDI bloc members Samajwadi Party and Congress “did nothing for the social, political and economic empowerment of Muslims.”

“SP and Congress always only practised the politics of appeasement but never did anything to uplift the Muslims politically, socially and financially. They have problems when I espouse the cause of Pasmanda Muslims because those higher up in their (Muslim) society have pocketed all benefits while Pasmandas have been forced to live in penury,” Modi said.

Lamenting the loss of dignity for Muslim women and their families that suffered at the altar of regressive practices like triple talaq, PM said he criminalised the concept by law and “secured the lives of several Muslim women and their families.”

Contrasting what he described as “Sabka Saath Sabka Vishwas” policy of his government with “appeasement policy” of his rivals, Modi today said he democratised the system of Haj travel by engaging Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and also abolished the mandatory requirement for women to travel for Haj with a male companion.

Modi said expansion of Haj quota through positive engagement with Saudi Arabia had led to the pilgrimage becoming accessible for all Muslims.

“Previously due to meagre Haj quota, bribery was rampant and only the well-endowed cops afford to go for Haj. I urged the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to raise India's Haj quota. Today not only has the Haj quota been raised, visa norms for Hajis have also been simplified,” said the PM on his poll tour.

While seeking to engage the Muslim minority, principally the backward Pasmanda Muslims, PM continued his appeal to the larger majority whom he warned of “Congress designs to plunder their wealth including the gold that women secure as investment for the rainy day and redistribute the same.”

After his Sunday remarks in Rajasthan’s Banswara that the Congress planned to snatch the wealth of people and give it to “infiltrators and those that had more children”, PM refrained from making a community specific utterance today.

He nevertheless reissued his Sunday warning.

“I want to warn the nation. Congress and the INDI alliance are now eyeing your earnings and your property. The 'Shehzada' of Congress says that if their government comes to power, they will investigate who earns how much, who has how many properties...Our mothers and sisters have gold. It is 'stree dhan', it is considered sacred, the law also protects it. Now these people's eyes are set on the ‘Mangalsutras’ of women. Their intention is to steal the gold of mothers and sisters... If you have an old ancestral home in your village and you also purchased a small flat in a city to secure the future of your children they will take away one of the two...

"This is Maoist thinking, this is the thinking of communists. This thinking has already ruined many countries. Now this same policy the Congress Party and INDI alliance want to implement in India...” PM said in the city where Hinduism is majority religion with 55.36 % followers and Islam is the second most popular religion with approximately 42.64 % followers.

As the prime minister lent clarity to the BJP's latest campaign push, party leaders highlighted portions of the Congress manifesto which, they said, signalled pro Muslim push including Muslim reservation across jobs and educational institutions.

“Wealth redistribution to Muslims, in line with former PM Manmohan Singh's formulation that minorities have the first claim on national resources, is not the only despicable agenda of Congress. Muslim Reservation is also coming.

Congress manifesto talks of removing the 50% reservation barrier set by the SC. The question is to what end? Congress manifesto says it will also do 'socio economic' census (in addition to caste census). Based in this data, Congress says, it will strengthen affirmative action.

Read together, above two points in 'Equity' section of Congress manifesto along with the segment in 'Minorities' section, no one is left in any doubt that Congress is planning for 'Muslim reservation' in education, employment, contracts and even sports,” pro-BJP social media handles argued on Monday even as the Congress and TMC delegations vowed to petition the Election Commission for what they slammed as PM's "hate speech in Banswara" on Sunday.

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