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Not doing Hindu-Muslim politics, only exposing Cong plan to create religion-based rift: PM

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Nashik/Kalyan, May 15 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asserted he has never indulged in Hindu-Muslim politics, but was determined to expose the Congress "game plan of appeasement" and uncover the opposition bloc's designs to divide people on the basis of religion.

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He 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.

Addressing two back-to-back poll rallies in Maharashtra, where the fifth and last phase of voting covering 13 Lok Sabha seats will take place on May 20, the PM hit out at the Shiv Sena (UBT), repeatedly calling it the "duplicate" Shiv Sena, and said the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has abjectly surrendered to the Congress and was silent on criticism of rituals at the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The BJP's star campaigner also held a roadshow in Mumbai in the evening.

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Speaking at a rally at Kalyan in Thane district, he said the Congress can never speak of development, but it can only create a rift between Hindus and Muslims.

"Development for the Congress is the development of those who vote for them. I expose this ecosystem, and I am blamed for (doing) Hindu-Muslim (politics)," he said.

The BJP stalwart referred to a 2006 remark of then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to hit out at the Congress.

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"The Congress openly said the minorities have the first right over the country's resources. (Then PM) Dr Manmohan Singh said this, and I was present at the meeting, and I opposed it. The Congress wanted a 15 per cent budget allocation to the minorities, and divide the budget into Hindu budget and Muslim budget," the BJP stalwart alleged.

"Should the country be run like this? The Congress divided the country in the name of religion earlier, and now wants to do the same thing. If the INDI alliance comes to power, they would divide the country on religious lines....we have to keep the country together....is it good to divide Indians? he asked the gathering.

Accusing the INDI alliance and "Congress' shehzade" (apparent reference to MP Rahul Gandhi) of doing politics of appeasement, the PM claimed Karnataka had become a "laboratory" of giving OBC quota to Muslims.

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"They plan to do this in the entire country. Congress leaders speak of vote-Jihad. I am being blamed for (doing) Hindu-Muslim (politics), but I am only exposing the Congress and INDI alliance's plans to divide people on the basis of religion and their appeasement politics. More than my image, unity of the country is important," the PM added.

Modi dared the "nakli (duplicate) Shiv Sena" of former CM Uddhav Thackeray to make Congress MP Rahul Gandhi speak "five lines" in favour of Hindutva ideologue and freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

"(1993 Mumbai blasts convict) Yakub Memon's grave is decorated, and invitation for the Ram temple is rejected," the PM said in a swipe at the Congress over its decision to skip the idol consecration event in Ayodhya.

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After his government conducted a surgical strike and an air strike on terrorist bases, Pakistan stopped giving the threat of using nuclear weapons, but Congress leaders are now saying the neighbouring country should be respected because they have the atom bomb, Modi said, referring to a reported remark of former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar.

At the first rally of the day at Pimpalgaon Baswant in Nashik district - 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.

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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.

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." "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.

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.

Dindori, Nashik, Kalyan and Bhiwandi are among 13 seats going to polls on May 20. PTI MR COR VT KRK RSY

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