PM Rakes Up UP Leader's "Vote Jihad" Remark For Fresh Strike On INDIA Bloc

Prime Minister Modi stressed that no Congress leader had opposed the statement yet.

PM Narendra Modi was in Gujarat's Anand for a poll rally

New Delhi:

Latching on to the "vote jihad" remark by Congress leader Salman Khurshid's niece Maria Alam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the woman leader had "exposed" the INDIA bloc's strategy for the ongoing Lok Sabha election. 

"INDI alliance has asked Muslims to go for Vote Jihad. This has come from an educated family, not from a child coming out of a Madrasa. INDI alliance is saying that all Muslims should get together and vote. The INDI alliance has insulted democracy and the Constitution," the Prime Minister said in a poll rally in Gujarat's Anand.

The Prime Minister stressed that no Congress leader had opposed the statement yet. "They have a tacit understanding. On one hand, the INDI alliance is trying to divide SC, ST, OBC and general categories and on the other, they are raising the slogan of Vote Jihad. This shows how dangerous their intentions are," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister's counter comes days after Maria Alam, addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Farrukhabad, appealed to Muslim voters to launch a "vote jihad". A Samajwadi Party leader, she was campaigning for party candidate Naval Kishore Shakya.

She said a "vote jihad" is the only way to remove this government. "People say the Constitution and democracy are under threat. But I say that insaniyat (humanity) is under threat," she said.

Uttar Pradesh police have registered a case against Maria Alam for promoting enmity between classes, among other sections of Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act. A case has also been registered against Mr Khurshid, who was chief guest at the gathering.

Asked about his niece's statement, the veteran Congress leader told the media that he avoids certain words in public addresses because they are misinterpreted. "Jihad means to fight against a situation. Her intention must have been to carry out vote jihad to protect the Constitution," he said.

Senior police officer Vikas Kumar told news agency ANI, "A video of Maria Alam Khan, an SP leader, is going viral on social media, where she is seen asking for votes on religious grounds. This is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct."

The Farrukhabad Lok Sabha seat is being contested by Samajwadi Party as part of its seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. The seat, represented by Mr Khurshid twice, is currently held by the BJP. Sitting MP Mukesh Rajput, who won it in the 2014 and 2019 polls, has been given another chance. Polling in Farrukhabad is due on May 13.

In another scathing attack on the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister today alleged that the Opposition party is in a partnership with Pakistan. "The weak Congress government used to give dossiers to the masters of terror. But, Modi's strong government kills terrorists on their ground. It is a coincidence, today Congress is getting weaker in India. Congress is dying here and Pakistan is crying. Now Pakistani leaders are offering 'dua' for Congress. Pakistan is eager to make 'shehzaada' the Prime Minister, and the Congress is already Pakistan's fan. This partnership between Pakistan and Congress has now been completely exposed," he said.

The Prime Minister's remarks came after former Pakistan minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain shared a video of Congress's Rahul Gandhi with the caption, "Rahul on fire".