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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

TMC and the Congress are similar: PM Modi sticks to pet theme of minority appeasement

'The biggest magnet that keeps pulling the TMC and Congress together is that of tushtikaran. These two parties can do anything for appeasement', the PM said in a campaign rally in Malda

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya, Soumya De Sarkar Calcutta, Malda Published 27.04.24, 12:23 PM
Narendra Modi addresses the public meeting at Nityanandapur in Malda on Friday.

Narendra Modi addresses the public meeting at Nityanandapur in Malda on Friday. Picture by Soumya De Sarkar

Narendra Modi on Friday landed blow after blow on chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s party and the Congress collectively over their alleged priority of tushtikaran (appeasement) — saffron lingo for the politics and policy of ensuring minorities aren’t marginalised.

Sathiyo (Companions), TMC and the Congress are sure putting up a show of being in conflict here (in Bengal), but the truth really is that their vichar (ideas) and achar, vyavhar (conduct, behaviour) are similar,” the Prime Minister said in a campaign rally in Malda, referring to INDIA constituent Trinamool Congress’s decision to fight alone in Bengal.

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Modi’s repeated mentions of the Congress in his campaign for Malda was necessitated by the fact that it was one of the Grand Old Party’s formidable bastions till recently.

“The biggest magnet that keeps pulling the TMC and Congress together is that of tushtikaran. These two parties can do anything for appeasement. Because of appeasement, these people want to revoke each and every decision taken for the betterment of the nation,” claimed Modi. “The INDI alliance says it will bring back Article 370 again in Kashmir.”

The approach seen in Malda is what the Prime Minister seems to have adopted since Sunday. But that it remained unaltered even in Bengal implies his intent to fall back on the fearsome weapon of attempting to reap electoral dividends through polarisation by vilification and otherisation of Muslims.

This approach, however, did not yield the desired results in the Assembly elections here in 2021.

“TMC and Congress leaders have been saying that if they come to power, they will repeal the CAA. You tell me, in countries born out of the Partition, where Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists are oppressed, where they are forced to convert, whose places of worship… are ruined, whose sisters and daughters are forcefully married to get them converted. Where will those people go?” asked Modi, tearing into Mamata over her uncompromising stand against the saffron regime’s contentious citizenship matrix.

The Election Commission of India, under heavy fire from countless quarters for its inertia on Modi’s remarks, issued a notice to the BJP — without clarity on whether he received one, individually — on Thursday.

On Friday, he accused Mamata of running a government here that helps settle ghuspaitiyo (infiltrators) from the neighbouring — Muslim-majority — Bangladesh.

“The TMC government settles Bangladeshi ghuspaitiyo in Bengal. They enable the capture of your land, your farms by these infiltrators, and the Congress is talking about redistributing your property to such a vote bank,” said Modi.

Since Banswara, Modi has been alleging that the Congress manifesto pledged to “survey” and “attach” citizens’ properties and distribute them disproportionately among Muslims. The Congress has denied the accusation.

“The INDI alliance constituents want to bring a dangerous law against women, tribals, and the poor. Under that law, they want to snatch the women’s mangalsutra, jewellery of tribal women, and will be able to investigate anyone’s property. These Congress people have declared it,” claimed the Prime Minister.

“The Shehzada (crown prince) of the Congress (a saffron dysphemism for Rahul Gandhi) has brought an X-ray machine from abroad for this, and will conduct an X-ray of everyone in the country. The Congress’s intention is to seize gold-silver, land, and give away a share of it to their vote bank,” he added.

Albeit Trinamool said nothing on the subject, Modi accused their party of endorsing the alleged idea with their silence.

Despite the Congress’s clarifications, that it had “no plan whatsoever” to introduce an inheritance tax as alleged by him, Modi reiterated it.

Sathiyo, the Congress is making schemes to levy a tax of 55 per cent on your property even after your passing, that means your lifetime’s savings, after your death, will not go to your sons and daughters,” he said.

“The Congress government will seize more than half of that property, and where will it go? To the Congress’s vote bank,” claimed the Prime Minister.

There is no mention of redistribution of wealth in the Congress manifesto. The manifesto mentions wealth inequality and makes a commitment to “address the growing inequality of wealth and income through suitable changes in policies”.

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