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IndiaAmit Shah Asserts that Campaigning on Religious Lines is Unacceptable, But BJP...

Amit Shah Asserts that Campaigning on Religious Lines is Unacceptable, But BJP Will Continue to Highlight Issues Like Article 370, UCC, and Opposition to Muslim Quota

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NEW DELHI, May 26: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asserted that the BJP will get a bigger win in opposition-ruled states due to a “positive mandate” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls, as he slammed the opposition's criticism of the Election Commission as a ploy to cover up for its impending loss.

In an interview with PTI, Shah claimed that his party has not resorted to any religion-based campaign but insisted that if canvassing against reservation for Muslims, and reaching out to voters on the abolition of Article 370 and implementing a Uniform Civil Code is religion-based campaign, then the BJP has done it and will continue doing so.
He dismissed the opposition's criticism of the Election Commission for its handling of poll data and the issue of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), saying that similar protocols and practices have been followed in previous assembly polls, including Telangana, West Bengal and Pradesh where the BJP lost.
”If those elections were fair, then this election is also fair. When you see defeat, you start crying in advance and try to find excuses to go abroad. This can't go on and on. They want to go on vacation on June 6. So, they are telling something or the other,” he said.
The Congress's questions about the polling process is aimed at covering up Rahul Gandhi's failure, he said.
Shah said the opposition party had not offered any such suggestion at the customary all-party meeting called by the poll watchdog before the elections. ”Whenever the opposition loses an election, they raise some questions. There is zero possibility of rigging in EVMs and they want an election which can be rigged.” With six phases of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls over, the BJP's key strategist said the party's assertion that its alliance will cross the 400-seat mark when the poll results are out on June 4 is not merely a poll slogan but a well thought-out goal.
He said, ”We will surely cross 400 seats. We will also form governments in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.” Assembly polls in the three states have been held alongside the .
”If we get 399 seats and you say we have not crossed 400, then it is your wisdom. But the ‘400 paar' slogan is based on calculation and considered opinion,” Shah said in his characteristic combative and sure-footed manner.
Asked if the party was overly dependent on Modi and if a relatively weak opposition was benefitting from its alliance, he said it was not a negative but a positive vote which the ruling alliance is receiving.
”This is not a negative vote. Please accept one thing. This is a positive vote. We will get people's support where (in states) we are in power. And mark my words…where we are not, we will be getting a bigger mandate. So this is a positive mandate for the work of the central government,” he said.
As Modi has brought to fruition the BJP's core ideological plans, be it the poor's welfare, a secure country, abrogation of Article 370, a uniform law (UCC) across the country, women's reservation and Ram temple, his popularity naturally becomes the strength of the BJP, he added. ”He is our biggest leader.” He accused the main opposition party of misleading people on the issue of Muslim reservation, insisting that its accusation that the BJP has been telling a lie rings hollow as it has already implemented such a religious quota in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. ”If they divide the truth in pieces to mislead people, then isn't it our duty to put these pieces together and inform people,” he said, defending Modi's intense attack on the Congress over the religious quota and the issue of redistribution of wealth.
”You might have heard and understood Rahul Gandhi's X-ray speech. So you want X-ray of what? And if you want to distribute it equally, then who will you distribute to? Manmohan Singh Ji said minorities are their priority. What do you make of this,” he asked when questioned about the Congress's allegations against Modi.
To a question about the Congress's promise of giving Rs 1 lakh to women in poor households, he said the party has a history of making populist assurances to come to power but never fulfilling them.
Shah said, ”They are in power in two-three states. They should at least fulfil this promise there. At least start giving Rs 1,500 which you promised (in Himachal Pradesh). You are talking about Rs 1 lakh, at least start giving Rs 1,500. Who will trust them.” Making his projection for the BJP in the states where the ruling party is eying major gains, he said it will anywhere between 24 to 30 seats in West Bengal and 16-17 in Odisha. Its alliance will bag nearly 17 seats in Andhra Pradesh. The three states have 42, 21 and 25 Lok Sabha seats, respectively.
Shah claimed that the BJP is set for a maiden majority in the Odisha assembly and expects to win 75 seats in the 147-member House. Its alliance will storm to power in Andhra too, he said.
People are angry with the Mamata Banerjee-led government over issues of corruption, cow and coal smuggling and infiltration, and the Sandeshkhali issue has exposed as to what extent she can stoop in her appeasement , he said.
With Modi spearheading the BJP's push in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, two states where the party has been so far unable to make much headway, in these polls, Shah said the party will certainly increase its vote share in the Dravidian state.
He said, ”It is a very tight contest. We have a new team. I will not make an estimate with figures. But our seats and vote share will increase and we will certainly lay a strong foundation in Tamil Nadu. We can open our account in Kerala. We are in a good position in three seats.”

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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