Bengaluru: Union Minister Babul Supriyo today launched a scathing attack on the Congress’ soft hindutva election strategy in the wake of party president Rahul Gandhi’s increased frequency of temple visits in Karnataka ahead of Assembly election in the state.
Babul Supriyo said, “The Congress for long kept criticising us and the RSS for respecting Lord Ram and sentiments of the Hindus. But today they are doing the same thing. This is hypocrisy. Their leader is visiting temples in election season. The Congress today has become the biggest follower, bhakt of the BJP.”
Responding to the charge, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said that the party did not mix religion with politics. “We keep religion separate from politics. It is because of misleading campaign by the BJP that (temple visits are being seen these days).”
Responding to Supriyo’s charge that Congress is resorting to soft Hindutva for political gains, Pilot said, “If Rahul Gandhi is visiting temples and dargah, why the BJP is having butterflies in stomach? Why are they nervous?”
Babul Supriyo and Sachin Pilot were speaking at Aaj Tak Panchayat in Bengaluru where they participated in a debate titled, “Big Karnataka Face-off”.
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Babul Supriyo said that Rahul Gandhi has been given a map for his temple visits. He is going to places where no one from his party went in the past 60 years, Supriyo said.
The Union minister was in the eye of storm earlier this week in West Bengal’s Asansol, which he represents in the Lok Sabha, for allegedly threatening his opponents “to skin them alive”. Supriyo defended his remarks saying that “Lord Krishna has said that anger is pure emotion and I was angry.”
He continued, “I have the courage to say that I expressed my anger in Asansol where elderly women were falling on my feet with tears rolling from their eyes. I am not a hypocrite like the Congress.”
“I did not threaten the people. I threatened TMC workers, who were creating troublesI can run 100 metre in 13 seconds. I still say if they continue creating troubles, I will not let them flee. I will run after them and catch them.”
Sachin Pilot attacked the BJP saying that the party has shifted the political discourse from issues to controversies. “There is no debate on unemployment, prices of pulses or corruption. The debate is going on over controversies. I challenge the BJP to debate on the issue of development in Karnataka.”
Stating that the Congress is responsible for India’s backwardness, Supriyo said, since a party has remained in power for 60 years, India could have been a different power had that party worked for it. “The rich got richer and poor got poorer under their ruleHow did it happen…No they expect Modi government to turn India on its head in four years,” Supriyo said.
Responding to the charge, Pilot said, “How long will you keep blaming the Congress for all the problems that you promised to solve in five years and failed to do so. Stop blaming the Congress for all your failures.”
Pilot also attacked the BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah for their call for “Congress-mukt Bharat”. “There was a time when the BJP had only two MPs in Parliament. But Rajiv Gandhi (the then prime minister) never said that he would make India BJP-free.”