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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

PM Modi ran divisive campaign; INDIA bloc will give country inclusive, nationalistic govt: Mallikarjun Kharge

People have endorsed their view that "it will be the end of democracy if the current government gets another chance", Kharge said while addressing a press conference

PTI New Delhi Published 30.05.24, 08:03 PM
Mallikarjun Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge File photo

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday expressed confidence that people will give a mandate to an alternative government on June 4 and said the INDIA bloc will form an inclusive and nationalistic government by securing a clear majority.

On the last day of the Lok Sabha polls campaign, he also accused Modi of running a divisive campaign, claiming the prime minister used 'mandir-masjid' and divisive issues 421 times and words like Muslim, Pakistan and minority 224 times.

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People have endorsed their view that "it will be the end of democracy if the current government gets another chance", Kharge said while addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here.

He also said that after INDIA bloc's "victory", the decision on the prime minister will be taken on the basis of talks with the constituents of the INDIA bloc.

"We are confident that on June 4, 2024, the people of the country will give a mandate to a new alternative government. The INDIA bloc will form the government with a clear majority," the Congress president said.

"Together, we will give this country an inclusive, nationalist and development-oriented government on the lines of the UPA I and II (United Progressive Alliance), and will move forward taking everyone along," he said.

The results of the Lok Sabha elections will be declared on June 4.

Asked when the decision on the prime minister will be taken in case the opposition alliance wins, he said, "We have an alliance, we cannot say directly that 'X' will be the prime minister. We will call everyone, take everyone's opinion. We will decide on the prime minister on the basis of what the alliance members say." When UPA I was formed, everyone wanted Sonia Gandhi to be prime minister but she did not become and made Manmohan Singh the prime minister, he said adding that "we will take everyone along".

On whether the country will get a 'Dalit prime minister', Kharge said, "I have gotten many offers in the past but I never said that I am a Dalit, so give me this and that. Everything has been given by the party. Sonia Gandhi has given it to me. She made me the Leader of Opposition and also made me AICC (President). Whatever decision is taken in our party, we will work according to that. It is not that I am going to ask for anything just because I am a Dalit. I have never asked for it till now." According to the Congress chief, Prime Minister Modi spoke about 'mandir-masjid' and divisive issues 421 times during the poll campaign despite the Election Commission's direction of no appeal for votes on caste and religion.

Modi also used words like Muslim, Pakistan and minority 224 times, but the Election Commission did not take any action on this, Kharge said.

He lowered the dignity of the prime minister's post, he alleged.

He also said Modi in his speeches in the last 15 days took the Congress' name 232 times, the name of INDIA bloc and opposition parties 573 times and his own name 758 times.

He didn't talk about unemployment and price rise even once, Kharge claimed.

Kharge also took a swipe at the prime minister over his comments in an interview that global awareness about Mahatma Gandhi came after Richard Attenborough's film, saying he may not have studied about Gandhi but the Mahatma is known the world over.

"Yesterday, PM Modi said that the world got to know about Mahatma Gandhi after watching Richard Attenborough's film. I find it amusing. For a PM to say that the world was introduced to Gandhi after watching a film… is it ignorance or did he not study about Gandhi?" Kharge said.

"In our times, we had texts in school, and if he would have read them, he would not have said anything like this. The whole world knows about Mahatma Gandhi. There are statues in front of UNO (United Nation Office). Many leaders praise Mahatma Gandhi... at least 70-80 countries have statues of him. Countries that have gained independence through non-violence, they all know about Mahatama Gandhi," the Congress chief said.

He said Modi must read Gandhi's autobiography to know more about him after June 4 when he will have a "lot of free time".

Mahatma Gandhi believed in non-violence and never hated anyone but Narendra Modi only talks about hatred, which is reflected in his every word, he alleged.

The Congress always works keeping in mind the problems of the people, he said.

"When Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi was the head of the UPA, we brought such schemes which benefited the poor. But Narendra Modi promoted unemployment, inflation, economic inequality, misuse of constitutional institutions," he claimed.

He alleged that the current government ended the democratic processes.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Modi, the Congress President said he considers himself an 'avatar' of God and BJP leaders are also calling him an incarnation of God.

Kharge also quoted B R Ambedkar -- "Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship", as he attacked the ruling party's Modi-centric approach.

Congress general secretary, organisation, KC Venugopal said a meeting of the INDIA bloc will be held on June 1 to discuss preparations for the counting of votes.

Venugopal said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has informed about her inability to attend as she would be busy with the polling that day.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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