The Congress party hit back at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi late on Sunday for his remarks that the ruling party wears the “veil of secularism” each time it faces a crisis.
“The veil of secularism is much better than their (BJP’s) communalism. Communalism divides the country,” Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
“Sampradaikta” ke “Nangepan” se “Dharmnirpekchta”" ka “Burqa” bahut achcha hai ! Sampradaikta Desh torti hai !
— Shakeel Ahmad (@Ahmad_Shakeel) July 14, 2013
Earlier, speaking at a public meeting in Pune, Modi had charged that the Congress wears the veil of secularism and hides in a bunker each time it faces a crisis.
The BJP leader had alleged that the Congress uses the issue of secularism whenever it was asked about challenges like price rise, corruption and other issues.
Taking direct potshots at everyone from Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi to Pawan Bansal and Ashwani Kumar, Modi on Sunday propelled BJP’s poll campaign forward during his day-long trip to Pune. While he had started off the day in comparatively mellow mood at the Fergusson College in Pune and veiled his attack on Congress with this theories of development, BJP’s poll campaign chief went all out at the party meet demolishing the Congress with his speech.
As was expected, both his speeches were hinged on a scathing critique of the UPA’s Food Security Bill. Earlier in the day, he had said that the ordinance is a useless one and will not make sure that people get food on their plates. Later, he lashed out at the Congress, playing up what he thought were the political motives behind passing the ordinance in a hurry.
“The Congress wants to perpetuate poverty. They want to increase poverty, they want to keep people poor. Then the party’s leader can visit a poor man’s house and call the media to show off his greatness and thereby establish that his family and party worries about the poor. The Congress’ dynastic politics have ruined the country,” said Modi. The reference to Rahul Gandhi was loud and clear.
He then went on to question how the currency of a small country like Bangladesh is not faltering while India’s is. He blamed ‘a corrupt Congress government’ for inflation and a ruined economy.
“Why did the government not want the Food Bill to be debated in the Parliament. That way it would have been a richer, more helpful one. The reason why they hurried the ordinance is because they have to faith in their own allies. I want to tell the Congress government that we have had enough of ‘acts’. It’s time for some ‘action’ now,” he said to a wildly cheering audience. “And while they deliberated on a food bill, food grains were rotting all over the country. Those grains were then sold to liquor manufacturers at 65 paise a kilo. This was a government which promised to alleviate poverty 35 years back. What has it done till date?”
He followed up his criticism of the Food Security Bill with questions regarding the government’s international relations. Modi asked why the government has gone soft on Pakistan and has refused to take concrete measures against the Italian government in the marines’ case. “The Pakistanis behead the soldiers who protect our country. One week later, our foreign minister treats the Pakistani PM to chicken biryani in India. The Italian marines kill our fishermen and the Indian government lets them flee. Do we want a government as weak as that?” he asked.
Modi also accused the Congress of using ‘secularism’ as a ‘burqa’ to hide its flaws. “Why don’t they feel accountable to the nation. They use the CBI to further their vote bank politics. They don’t own up to their mistakes. And whenever someone criticises them, they wear a burqa of secularism to hide its flaws,” said Modi. He also brought up the railways scam, the coalgate scam and Manmohan Singh‘s involvement in it.
He upped the ante of BJP’s poll campaign by several notches as he concluded his speech saying that while the older generation might have forgiven the Congress, the younger generation won’t. “If all the black money stashed abroad was brought back in India, each poor person would have Rs 3 lakh in his pocket. An average family of five will have Rs 15 lakh on them. But will the Congress make an effort to do that? No,” he said emphasising that the party believes in letting the country waste itself to further their own motives.