"4 Points From...": Ex-Cricket Star's IPL Take On PM's Rajasthan Speech Row

PM Modi's speech in Rajasthan's Banswara this weekend triggered furious pushback from the opposition and a section of civil society activists

'4 Points From...': Ex-Cricket Star's IPL Take On PM's Rajasthan Speech Row

Ex-India cricketer Venkatesh Prasad (File).

New Delhi:

Former cricketer Venkatesh Prasad has clattered into the political row triggered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial election speech in Rajasthan this weekend - in which he referred to the nation's Muslim community and alleged the Congress plans to "redistribute assets among infiltrators" should it return to power after this year's election. The ex-India pacer drew a cricketing analogy.

"One of the political party's manifestos is to redistribute wealth of the rich to the poor. The poor need to be uplifted but this thought process is so pathetic," Mr Prasad declared on X (formerly Twitter).

"It is like saying 'if we take 4 points from Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Sunrisers Hyderabad, and re-distribute it to the bottom 3 teams, they can make the playoffs."

PM Modi's speech in Rajasthan's Banswara this weekend triggered furious pushback from the opposition and a section of civil society activists. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi hit out at the "lies" and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the Prime Minister's only 'guarantee' is "to abuse Muslims..." Samajwadi Party boss Akhilesh Yadav - who is part of the Congress-led INDIA opposition bloc - also called out the "lies".

READ | PM's "Wealth To Infiltrators" Jab And Manmohan Singh's 2006 Speech

PM Modi had said, "This 'urban Naxal' mindset... they will not even leave your 'mangalsutra'. They can go to that level... Congress manifesto says they will calculate 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 first right on assets."

PM Modi was referring to a statement by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - on whom he lavished praise in February, calling him an "inspirational example" - in December 2006 at a meeting of the National Development Council on the fiscal priorities of his government.

READ | Row After PM Says "Congress To Distribute Assets Among Infiltrators"

According to the then Prime Minister's Office, Dr Singh had said, "... 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 first claim on resources..."

The swipe, meanwhile, comes as PM Modi and the ruling BJP ramp up attacks on the Congress-led INDIA, which many see as a challenge to the saffron party's hopes of a hat-trick of Lok Sabha poll wins.

PM Modi has also accused the Congress' election manifest of being a "Muslim League imprint" and a "bundle of lies". "Congress issued a bundle of lies in its manifesto... every page reeks of attempts to tear India apart. It reflects the thoughts the Muslim League had before independence," he had said.

READ | "Its Best Friend...": M Kharge On BJP's "Muslim League Imprint" Jab

Ex-Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav made a "folded hands" appeal to the Prime Minister, urging him to stick to discussing " real issues", such as the cost of living crisis.

Since then, and unfazed by the criticism and demands of action by the Election Commission of India, the Prime Minister has repeated his attacks. At Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh today he declared "Congress and INDI alliance are now eyeing your income, your property..."

READ | PM Doubles Down Amid Row: 'Congress Will Take Your Homes, Jewels'

Meanwhile, this is not the first time Venkatesh Prasad has spoken out against the Congress and appeared to side with the BJP. In December he taunted the party over impending defeats in the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan state elections.

"Abusing Sanatana Dharma was bound to have its consequences," he posted on X.

READ | "Abusing Sanatana...": Ex Cricketer's Dig At Congress Amid Poll Results

Tamil Nadu Minister and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin stirred up a major political controversy when he said "Sanatana Dharma should be eradicated". Ally Congress, which largely avoided wading into the controversy, said the party believed in "sarvadharma sambhav" (equal respect to all religions).

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