PM's charge that Cong will run bulldozer on Ram temple 'complete lie': Kharge

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has rubbished Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charge that the Congress will run a bulldozer on the Ram temple if it comes to power, saying it is a "complete lie" and the party respects all sects, religions and honours everyone's faith.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge

New Delhi | Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has rubbished Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charge that the Congress will run a bulldozer on the Ram temple if it comes to power, saying it is a "complete lie" and the party respects all sects, religions and honours everyone's faith.

He also asserted that the Congress has been in power for 55 years but has never stopped anyone from worshipping anyone or has taken away anyone's mangalsutra, as claimed by the prime minister.

"This is a complete lie. They talk like this only. No one from our party has spoken like this and neither is it written in the Constitution. We respect all sects and religions and honour everyone's faith," Kharge said in an interview with PTI.

He also said that helping the poor in any community is not appeasement, as alleged by the BJP.

"People were earlier living happily, but the BJP and Modi ji have done the work of dividing people for their votes. They do such things for votes and accuse others of using the bulldozer," Kharge asserted.

He also accused the BJP of creating false propaganda against the Congress every time it came out with schemes to help the poor during the UPA government. He said the prime minister is now accusing them for practising the politics of freebies.

The Congress chief said when the party first brought MGNREGA, Food Security Act, Rural Health mission, the BJP opposed them. He also cited land reforms and nationalisation of banks which were opposed by the BJP.

"Whenever we introduced schemes for the poor, they criticised them. Now we are talking of giving double ration to the poor," he said.

Brushing aside criticism of practising politics of appeasement, the Congress chief said, "Stopping 'anyay' (injustice) on any community is not appeasement. They (the BJP) try to polarise during elections. They try to project anything we do as appeasement. I would only say that the BJP does appeasement politics. By giving the poor something, or giving scholarship to the poor, giving education through special schools for Muslims cannot be termed as appeasement," Kharge noted.

On BJP's attack that the Congress wants to give religion-based quotas and that is why the call for raising the reservation ceiling, he said it is meant to provide reservation for the poor.

"In Tamil Nadu, there is 69 per cent reservation. Is it for Muslims? We are saying we will raise the limit like in Tamil Nadu. How do the Muslims come in? We want to provide reservation for economically weaker sections and do Muslims not come in them? "They try to create misunderstanding about everything and whatever we do, everyone will get that. It will be for all," he asserted.

Justifying the demand for holding a caste census, the Congress chief said it is to ensure giving something to communities have been left out in the past.

"Wherever the poor need to be helped, backwards need the help, we will create a policy for them. Just like Jawaharlal Nehru formulated the five-year plans, similar things have to be given to those who have not been given the benefits of development so far. We are not snatching anyone's rights.

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