Congress working on banned outfit PFI’s agenda: Amit Shah in Karnataka

Union Home Minister also alleges that Congress kept Lord Ram “under lock”, insulted Lord Hanuman and freedom fighter VD Savarkar

Karnataka Assembly polls election 2023
Amit Shah addresses public meeting at Savadatti in Karnataka's Belagavi district on Saturday | Video grab: Twitter/Amit Shah

Senior BJP leader Amit Shah on Saturday (May 6) urged the people of Karnataka not to vote for the Congress in next week’s Assembly polls because it “practises appeasement politics” and “functions on the banned Popular Front of India’s (PFI) agenda”.

Addressing a public meeting at Savadatti in Belagavi district, the Union Home Minister also alleged that the Congress has insulted Lord Hanuman, along with freedom fighter and Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar.

On Muslim reservation

“The Congress party, for the sake of vote bank, practises appeasement politics. First, they allowed 4% Muslim reservation despite knowing that our Constitution does not provide for reservation based on religion. The BJP has scrapped this unconstitutional Muslim reservation and increased the quota for Lingayats and Vokkaligas by 2% each,” Shah said.

Pointing out the Congress’s promise that it would bring back Muslim reservation and take it up to 6% if it comes to power, Shah asked whose share it would reduce.

“From where will you (Congress) get it? Will you reduce the quota of Lingayats or Vokkaligas or SC/STs? Clarify it. Congress members, listen with open ears, you will neither form the government, nor will Lingayat reservation get reduced. Only the BJP government will come,” he added.

Also read: Kharge assassination charge: Will probe audio recordings, says Bommai

PFI agenda

The Home Minister claimed Congress has said it would repeal the ban on the Islamist outfit PFI, clamped by the BJP government last year, if it comes to power. “We don’t practise vote bank politics; whoever does anti-national activities will go behind bars,” said Shah.

He also alleged that the Congress was functioning on PFI’s agenda. To make his point, Shah argued that the PFI had two demands, of which one was to increase the minority budget to Rs 10,000 crore. He pointed out that the Congress had “silently” promised to increase the quantum to Rs 10,000 crore in its manifesto.

He also claimed that PFI’s other demand was reservation for minorities, which the Congress has promised as well, and said it would increase it from 4% to 6%. “Congress is functioning on PFI’s agenda; never vote for the Congress,” he added.

Also read: Cong trying to mock Hindu faith by proposing ban on Bajrang Dal: Yogi

Invoking Ram, Hanuman, Savarkar

Accusing the Congress of keeping Lord Ram “under lock” by not allowing the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya for 70 years, Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, upon coming to power, laid the foundation for building the structure at the site.

The Congress, in its manifesto, has also insulted Bajrangbali (Lord Hanuman), he said, adding, “They don’t stop there.”

“One senior Congress leader asked, ‘What is the birth date of Bajrangbali? Do you have his birth certificate?’ Whole country knows his birth date. It’s on Hanuman Jayanti Poornima. You (Congress) don’t know, as you only remember appeasement,” said Shah.

Hitting out at the Congress for “insulting” Savarkar, the BJP leader said: “They don’t know history. Rahul baba (Rahul Gandhi), you insult Savarkar. Even if you live for 10 janams (births), you cannot make one-tenth of the sacrifices that Savarkar made.”

He reminded the people that the BJP installed Savarkar’s portrait at the Assembly hall in Belagavi’s Suvarna Vidhana Soudha.

Also read: Karnataka polls: Congress accuses Modi of being a ‘master of distortion’

Mahadayi water dispute

Stating that he has seen the situation in Karnataka during his travel across the state for campaigning, the union home minister said the BJP would form a majority government in Karnataka.

Appealing to the people to ensure that the BJP gets a full majority, he said: “Under Modi’s leadership, the BJP will make north Karnataka the most developed region of the state….Give all the 18 seats in Belagavi district to BJP in this election.”

Noting that the Congress, despite having governments in Karnataka, Goa, and at the Centre in the past, did not resolve the inter-state Mahadayi river water dispute, Shah said that top Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had said in Goa in 2007 that Mahadayi water will not be given to Karnataka.

“Sonia ji, you left and your government left too. Modi ji came (to power) and the issue has been resolved, and Mahadayi water is coming to northern districts of Karnataka,” he pointed out, as he accused the Congress of using “lathis and bullets” against farmers.

Also read: Fractured Karnataka electorate keeps Congress, BJP on tenterhooks

On Congress guarantees

Taking a dig at Congress’s poll guarantees, Shah said similar promises were made by Congress in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, and Nagaland, and the party was “wiped out” there.

“Rahul baba, no one believes your guarantees. No one trusts the guarantees given by those who have no respect,” he claimed.

Pointing out that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has called PM Modi a “venomous snake”, Shah said it shows the party’s “level”, and the time has come for the people of Karnataka to teach them a lesson.

Karnataka goes to polls on May 10, and the results will be declared on May 13.

(With agency inputs)