Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi yesterday raised the issue of “illegal migration” from Bangladesh during his election campaign and drew a distinction between Bangladeshis and Hindu Bangalees.
Addressing an election rally in Assam state’s Bongaigaon, which shares a border with Bangladesh, he blamed India’s ruling Congress for indulging in “vote-bank politics”.
He claimed that it was due to that Bangladeshis were given importance in Assam while Hindu Bangalees, who had to flee Bangladesh following atrocities, were neglected.
“Why are Hindu Bangalees from Bangladesh not given the right to be Indians? Why are they still D [doubtful] voters in the country and are forced to stay in camps? Is this not injustice?”
Referring to BJP’s stand on the issue, Modi said, “We do not hide our policies. We do not believe in vote-bank politics where our own people are tortured and foreigners are welcomed with open arms. They [Hindu Bangalee immigrants] must be given their due respect so that they can be proud Indians.”
Modi had raised the issue more than a month ago at a meeting in Silchar town in Assam.
Accusing Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi of spreading lies about economic development in Gujarat, Modi brushed aside their claim that small-scale industries were closing down in Gujarat, his state.
“The Congress has been cheating you. When they need your votes, the mother and the son comes to the fore but stay behind the curtains when running the government,” he said.
He said the mother-son duo would have to pay for running the government from behind the scenes.
“If you want to save the country, you have to first save yourself from the mother-son duo,” he said. “The country cannot be run by remote control …”
Criticising Sonia and Rahul over the claims made in a book by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser Sanjaya Baru, Modi said, “It is clear [in the book] who was the actual prime minister. What Manmohan Singh says does not matter. Both mother and son have to pay a price for this.”
“The book has brought to fore what we [BJP] have been saying for so long that mother and son were the primary decision-makers and Manmohan Singh was just a facade,” he said.
Modi claimed that the electorate in 232 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, where voting has been completed, had voted against the government.
“It is now the responsibility of the voters to ensure that BJP wins 300 seats so that a strong and stable government can be formed at the Centre,” he said.