Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at a rally, in Aligarh | Photo: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the electorate to turn out in greater numbers for voting on Friday as he slammed the Congress for its intentions of redistributing the country’s wealth.

Addressing a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh, Modi claimed the Congress harboured perverse designs of seizing and redistributing people’s property if it is voted to power. However, unlike his Sunday speech in Rajasthan’s Banswara, Modi in Aligarh did not repeat the allegation that Congress could distribute the nation’s wealth among “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”. Instead, he spoke of his outreach to ‘pasmanda’ or the marginalised, among Muslims, his government’s efforts at increasing the Haj quota and the criminalisation of triple talaq.

He accused the Congress and the Samajwadi Party of indulging in “appeasement” politics, but doing little to uplift the socio-economic condition of Muslims.

The Congress on Monday asked the Election Commission (EC) to take action against Modi for his “redistribution of wealth” remarks made at the BJP’s Banswara rally, alleging that they were ‘divisive’, ‘malicious’ and targeted a particular religious community. A delegation of party leaders, including Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Salman Khurshid, said the prime minister violated the model code of conduct. EC officials declined to comment on whether the poll body will issue a notice to Modi.

In Rajasthan on Sunday, the prime minister cited former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s 2006 speech in which he said Muslims, along with Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), had the “first claim” on the country’s resources. After facing criticism from the BJP, then ruling UPA government had clarified that Singh’s “first claim on resources” remarks referred to all the ‘priority’ areas, which included programmes to uplift SCs, STs, Other Backward Class (OBCs), women, children, and minorities.

In Aligarh on Monday, Modi repeated the redistribution of wealth remark, saying he wanted to “alert” people about the “intentions” of the Congress and the opposition INDIA bloc.

“The Congress’ ‘shahzada’ (prince) says if his government comes, they will investigate who earns how much and how much property they have. Not only this, he further says the government will take over the property and redistribute it. This is what their election manifesto is saying,” Modi claimed, referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

“Just think, our mothers and daughters have gold. This is ‘stridhan’ (women’s property). It is considered sacred, even the law protects it. But now they are eyeing a change in law and snatching the property of our mothers and sisters. These people have their eyes on their ‘manglasutras’,” Modi said.

He claimed that the Opposition planned to conduct a survey of the property owned by salaried people.

“If you own two homes, it will snatch one – the Congress will go that far. This is Maoist thinking… this is communist thinking. By doing this, they have ruined so many countries. Now the Congress and the INDI Alliance want to implement the same policy in India,” the prime minister said.

Unlike his Banswara speech, he did not refer to Manmohan Singh’s statement.

In Aligarh, Modi repeatedly urged the people to vote before having their first meal of the day.

He said the people should remember how much the security situation had changed from the days of serial bomb blasts, including in Ayodhya and Varanasi and shelling in border areas to which his government has put a “full stop”. He said first-time voters were too young to remember those times when there were regular alerts from the police to not touch any “unattended bags”.

Addressing an election rally in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker town on Monday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, unlike the Congress which says the minority (community) has the first right over the country’s resources, the BJP says it is the poor, Adivasis, Dalits and backward who have the first right over resources of the country.

First Published: Apr 22 2024 | 10:14 PM IST

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