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Irani targets Congress over PFI-linked outfit supporting party in Kerala

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Bhopal, Apr 3 (PTI) Union minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday attacked the Congress, and quoted Kerala BJP leaders to allege that the opposition party has stooped so low that it was seeking help from "terrorist organisations" to win elections.

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She was apparently referring to the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political arm of the banned Popular Front of India (PFI), extending support to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Irani also hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remark made at a rally in Delhi recently that if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the election through "match-fixing" and changes the Constitution, then the country would be on "fire" and would not survive.

Gandhi on Wednesday filed his Lok Sabha poll nomination from the Wayanad seat in Kerala, which he currently represents.

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Addressing a rally at Panna in Madhya Pradesh, Irani said, "I heard that some people are filing their nomination papers in Wayanad today. State (Kerala) president of my party (BJP) is contesting elections against him and is saying that now his (Gandhi's) politics has become so bad that he is seeking help from terrorist organisations." Irani was in Panna to accompany state BJP state president V D Sharma in filing his nomination papers from the Khajuraho Lok Sabha seat. Sharma is a sitting BJP MP from that seat renominated by the party.

The Women and Child Development Minister further said these are the same people who opposed the country in Parliament when Article 370 was abrogated from Kashmir.

"These are the people who sought proof when the Indian Air Force went inside Pakistan and attacked the enemy's camps," she said.

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These people are threatening that if Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister again, then the country would be on fire, Irani added.

"I want to ask Rahul Gandhi to listen with open ears that this country was challenged earlier also by the fair-skinned (Britishers), but it defeated them. This country was challenged by the enemies earlier also and the native people made them bite the dust. If you threaten the country to tarnish democracy and if you provoke, then this country will not spare you," she said.

Irani said that the opposition INDIA bloc doesn't know what to do in 2024, while the BJP has a vision for 2047.

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According to opposition INDIA bloc seat sharing in Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho seat is given to the Samajwadi Party (SP).

"It is the first indication of Congress's defeat that they refused to contest against the state BJP president. Those who were fighting against each other in the recent assembly election are now sharing the seats," she said.

"It has become a habit of the Congress to flee after facing defeat. One can confirm it from the people of Amethi," said Irani, who had defeated Rahul Gandhi from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh in 2019.

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She cautioned the voters saying that voting in favour of the Samajwadi Party means strengthening the powers which want to divide the country and supporting those who looted the coffers.

During the COVID-19 period, everyone fled while the BJP helped the people, the minister said.

"It was PM Narendra Modi who ensured vaccination in India and other countries," she said.

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"...Approach people with humility and ask what if the reins were in the hands of the Congress looters, would the ration have reached the homes of the poor?...If Narendra Modi was not there, would a grand temple of Lord Ram temple have been built?" Irani added.

The SP on Monday replaced its Khajuraho Lok Sabha candidate Manoj Yadav, whose name was announced last week, with former MLA Meera Deep Narayan Yadav.

Election to the seat, which is the only one allotted in the state to the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP by the Congress under an agreement between the two parties, will take place on April 26. PTI ADU MAS NP

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