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Rahul should clarify if Congress is a muslim party: Sitharaman


BJP raked up a news report that said Congress president Rahul Gandhi had described his party as a “Muslim party” during his recent interaction with intellectuals of the minority community. BJP also expressed fear that the principal opposition will play “politics of religion” and incite riots in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman sought a clarification from Gandhi on the issue and insisted he should explain what he meant by Congress being a Muslim party as quoted by the Urdu newspaper “The Inquilab”. She also asked the Congress chief about his earlier visits to temples during the Karnataka elections and claims that he is a “janeyu dhari (one who wears the sacred thread) Brahmin”.

“He has been quoted as saying, ‘yes, Congress is a Muslim party’…. Is this a catharsis of sorts for the Congress?… He has also told Muslim intellectuals that Muslims are next to Dalits,” said Sitharaman, who had held the press interaction in her capacity as a BJP leader. She asked Gandhi if “he is changing track again” and engaging in “course correction” after visiting temples briefly during the Karnataka polls.

“Is he not a janeyu dhari but a Muslim dhari?” the defence minister said, adding that Gandhi is not the only Congress leader to make such polemical remarks. She referred to Shashi Tharoor’s “Hindu Pakistan”, Digvijay Singh’s Pakistani dictators statements and former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s words that Muslims have the first right to India’s resources.

The BJP leader claimed that Gandhi has apologised to Muslim intellectuals and told them that he was misled and Congress lost in 2014 due to this.

Sitharaman said the Congress stand today resembles its position in 1947 at the time of Partition when it played the religion card and spread communal disharmony.

“As a responsible president of a responsible political party, he should come out clean on whether Congress is a Muslim party. That party speaks against what is written in the Constitution,” she said.

BJP, which has often raised the issue of building a Ram temple at Ayodhya and its leaders have overtly spoken about Hindu pride, alleged that Congress had earlier coined the term “Hindu terror” with a certain agenda.

“Rahul Gandhi has also said that Congress will make sure Narendra Modi does not become Prime Minister again. Is that a constructive agenda?” Sitharaman said.

Source: Economic Times