BJP chief Amit Shah Sunday ridiculed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his decision to contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, saying he has “fled” to Kerala fearing that Amethi voters will seek an account of work done by him and his party over the years.
Shah was speaking at his first election meeting in western UP, where voting will be held on April 11. The saffron party had won all eight Lok Sabha seats in the region in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“Rahul Gandhi has fled to Kerala as he fears that Amethi voters will seek an account (of work) from him,” the BJP chief said.
“In Kerala, there is politics of appeasement, hence he is going there. You have played with the security of the country for your vote bank politics.Wherever you will go, people of the country will ask you to give an account (of your work),” Shah said.
The Congress announced earlier on Saturday that Gandhi will contest from Wayanad besides his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. The decision is seen as an attempt by the party to consolidate voter base in south India, especially Kerala, which has 20 Lok Sabha seats.
Shah also hit out at the Congress for “giving a clean chit” to Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Samjhauta Express blast case, sending Swami Aseemanand and other “innocent persons” to jail and “putting a tag of terrorism on Hindus”.
He claimed that in “the Samjhauta blast case, the then Union home minister P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Rahul Gandhi himself had said before US officials that Lashkar is not a threat, but people spreading Hindu terrorism are.”
“However, the court has given a clean chit to Swami Aseemanand and other accused persons,” he added.
Shah alleged that the Congress had committed the sin of linking terrorism with religion and demanded that Gandhi should apologise to the country.
“They have committed the sin of insulting the glorious Hindu community for their vote bank politics. Can a Hindu ever be a terrorist? It is possible that Rahul Gandhi does not know that we (Hindus) even feed wheat flour to ants? How can we kill people?” the BJP chief asked.
“Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the people of the country for this,” Shah said.
The BJP chief claimed that the Congress had denied Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar his due honour.
“I want to ask Rahul Baba that why your great-grandfather (Jawaharlal Nehru) had stopped Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar from going to Parliament? His picture was not installed in Parliament. Today you are quoting Ambedkar, but it is the Modi government which has honoured him,” Shah said.
In a jibe at the opposition parties, he said they have united due to the fear of Modi.
“People have expressed their choice that Modiji should become the prime minister (again) by chanting ‘Modi, Modi’. But whom will the ‘gathbandhan’ (opposition alliance) make the prime minister? They do not have any ‘neeti’ (policy) or ‘reeti’ (manner). They have united only due to the fear of Modiji,” he said.
Citing the various welfare schemes launched by the Centre, Shah said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government had given gas cylinders, power connections and houses to the poor.
“In the past five years, gas cylinders were given to 7 crore poor women, 2.5 crore people got houses and nearly 2.35 crore families got electricity connections. Apart from this, 50 crore poor people got the benefit of free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh,” he said.
Referring to Modi washing the feet of sanitation workers during the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, the BJP chief said, “This has not happened earlier. The prime minister honoured them and also sent a message of social harmony.”
Shah also lauded Modi for the decision to carry out air strikes in Pakistan following the Pulwama attack.
“Pakistan had killed 40 of our CRPF jawans. Modiji demolished the hideouts of the terrorists by conducting air strikes in Pakistan on the 13th day of their death,” he said.