Huge Row After PM Says "Congress To Distribute Assets Among Infiltrators"

Lok Sabha elections 2024: "Manmohan Singh's government had said Muslims have the first right on the country's assets," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at an election rally in Rajasthan

PM Narendra Modi's speech in Rajasthan has raised a huge row

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election speech in Rajasthan's Banswara has raised a controversy over his references to Muslims, with leaders of the Opposition bloc INDIA calling the speech an attempt to divert attention from "real issues".

"This 'urban Naxal' mindset, mothers and sisters, they will not even leave your 'mangalsutra'. They can go to that level... The Congress manifesto says they will calculate the gold with mothers and sisters, get information about it, and then distribute that property. They will distribute it to whom - Manmohan Singh's government had said Muslims have the first right on the country's assets," PM Modi said at the rally on Sunday.

"Earlier, when their (Congress) government was in power, they had said that Muslims have the first right on the country's assets. This means to whom will this property be distributed? It will be distributed among those who have more children. It will be distributed to the infiltrators. Should your hard-earned money go to the infiltrators? Do you approve of this?" he said.

"Is it acceptable to you? Do governments have the right to confiscate your property which you have earned through hard work? The gold with our mothers and sisters is not for showing off; it is related to their self-respect. The value of their mangalsutra is not in gold or its price, but is related to her dreams in life. And you are talking about snatching it?" PM Modi said.

Fortifying PM Modi's claim, the BJP posted a 22-second video of Dr Singh's speech from December 2006. "The Congress doesn't trust their own Prime Minister?" the BJP said.

PM Modi in the speech was alluding to a comment by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in December 2006 at a meeting of the National Development Council on fiscal priorities of the government. Then too, a huge controversy had broken out, after which the office of the then Prime Minister had issued a clarification on what it called a "deliberate and mischievous misinterpretation".

According to the then Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Dr Singh had said, "I believe our collective priorities are clear: agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programmes for the upliftment of SC/STs, Other Backward Classes, minorities, and women and children.

"The component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will need to be revitalised. We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources. The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within the overall resource availability."

The PMO had said it would be seen from the above that the Prime Minister's reference to "first claim on resources" refers to all the "priority" areas listed above, including programmes for the upliftment of SCs, STs, OBCs, women and children and minorities.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, reacting to PM Modi's attack on Dr Singh, in a post on the microblogging website X said the Prime Minister now wants to divert the attention of the public from issues.

"After the disappointment in the first phase of voting, the level of Narendra Modi's lies has fallen so much that out of fear, he now wants to divert the attention of the public from the issues. Trends have started coming regarding the immense support that Congress's 'Revolutionary Manifesto' is receiving," Mr Gandhi said in the post.

"The country will now vote on its issues, vote for employment, family, and future. India will not go astray," Mr Gandhi said.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera in a video statement on X said PM Modi has been telling "lies after lies" just to win elections.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who is also a part of the Opposition bloc INDIA, criticised PM Modi over the speech. "Not only the country but the whole world also knows Prime Minister Narendra Modi lies, the way how he spread lies about the Congress's 'Nyay Patra' and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is an example of dirty politics."

Slamming the Prime Minister for his remarks, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi posted on X, "Modi today called Muslims infiltrators and people with many children. Since 2002 till this day, the only Modi guarantee has been to abuse Muslims and get votes. If one is talking about the country's wealth, one should know that under Modi's rule the first right to India's wealth has been of his wealthy friends. 1% of Indians own 40% of the country's wealth. Common Hindus are made to fear Muslims while their wealth is being used to enrich others."

The first of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections was held on Friday. Counting is on June 4.