Press Trust of india

Congress wants budget allocation on basis on religion, but I will not allow it, asserts PM

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Nashik:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accused the Congress of wanting to allocate 15 per cent of the central government budget for minorities and vowed not to allow splitting of budget or reservation in jobs and education on the basis of religion.

The Congress, when in power at the Centre between 2004 and 2014, had planned to spend 15 per cent of the budget on minorities which is its “favourite vote-bank”, but gave up the proposal due to the BJP’s stiff opposition though it has not entirely abandoned the idea, he said.

Addressing an election rally at Pimpalgaon Baswant in north Maharashtra’s Nashik district in support of Mahayuti candidates — Union minister Bharati Pawar (BJP) and Hemant Godse (Shiv Sena) — the PM said splitting budget on religious lines was a dangerous idea.

“We give benefit of welfare schemes to everyone. But the Congress wants division and distribution of budgets based on religion. They divided the country on the basis of religion and are doing it even today,” stated the BJP’s star campaigner.

The PM pointed out that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Constitution, was firmly against religion-based reservation in jobs and education.

“When I was the chief minister (of Gujarat), the Congress (then heading UPA government) had brought up this proposal (to earmark 15 pc of budget for minorities). The BJP strongly opposed this move and hence it could not be implemented. But the Congress wants to bring this dangerous proposal again (if voted to power),” Modi warned the gathering.

Attacking the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, the BJP leader said the “duplicate” Shiv Sena has surrendered before the Congress.

Without naming NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar, Modi said, “An INDI alliance leader from Maharashtra knows the Congress is losing badly (in elections). So, he has suggested that small parties merge with the Congress so that it can get the status of the principal opposition party.”

He said the merger of “duplicate” Shiv Sena and the “duplicate” NCP (referring to the party headed by Sharad Pawar) with the Congress was certain.

“Merger of small parties with the Congress is sure to happen. When duplicate Shiv Sena (referring to Sena UBT headed by Uddhav) merges, I will remember Balasaheb Thackeray’s words that if the Shiv Sena becomes like the Congress, he will shut down his party. Now, the duplicate Shiv Sena will cease to exist. The duplicate Shiv Sena has crushed all dreams of Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said.

Modi maintained that late Bal Thackeray, a BJP ally, had dreamt of a grand Ram temple coming up in Ayodhya and abolishing Article 370 which provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

“The dream has been accomplished, but the duplicate Shiv Sena is upset. The Congress rejected the invite for ‘pran pratistha’ (idol consecration ceremony at Ram temple) and the duplicate Shiv Sena  also took the same path,” the PM opined.

Congress leaders are criticising the rituals done in the Ram temple at Ayodhya, but the “duplicate” Shiv Sena is keeping quiet, he said.

“The Congress abuses (Hindutva icon) Veer Savarkar, but the duplicate Shiv Sena is supporting the Congress. The duplicate Shiv Sena has abjectly surrendered to the Congress. The people of Maharashtra have decided to punish the duplicate Shiv Sena,” Modi remarked.

In the last 10 years, the PM said, his government has provided free ration, water, electricity, houses and gas connections irrespective of religion.

The PM asserted Ambedkar was against religion-based quota, but the Congress wants to take away reservation rights of SCs/STs/OBCs and give them to Muslims.

“Modi is the chowkidar (watchman) of rights of deprived sections of society and will never let the Congress take away their rights. Modi will not let budget distribution or quota on the basis of  religion,” the BJP stalwart declared.

Modi said the ongoing Lok Sabha polls are not about just electing MPs, but choosing a prime minister who takes strong decisions for the country.

Voting pattern in the first four phases of the polls suggests the BJP-led NDA is set to get resounding mandate from electors, he said.

“Your service is my life’s biggest goal. In the last ten years, you have seen my work and now I have come to seek your blessings for a third term for a Viksit Bharat (developed India). If (voting) trends of the four phases held so far are any indication, the NDA will get a huge mandate,” he asserted.

The PM stressed famer welfare was among top priorities of his government.

“Ban on onion export was lifted recently and 22,000 metric tonne (of the commodity) has already been exported. Rs 12,000 is being given to every eligible farmer per year under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi (a scheme where cultivators get Rs 6,000/year in three instalments and a matching contribution from Maharashtra government). Earlier farmers didn’t get a rupee,” said the PM.

False financial packages were announced during the Congress rule, he noted.

At the rally in Nashik, a major hub of onion production, Modi pointed out his government has raised the quantum of the key kitchen staple’s buffer to 5 lakh metric tonne from 3 lakh metric tonne earlier.

There has been a 35 per cent increase in onion export since 2014, said the PM.

Bharati Pawar (BJP) and Hemant Godse (Shiv Sena) are contesting from Dindori and Nashik Lok Sabha seats, respectively. These are among 13 seats going to polls in the fifth and last phase of elections in Maharashtra on May 20.

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