PM should focus on development issues and not play Hindu-Muslim card: Mallikarjun Kharge

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Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav at a joint press conference in Lucknow, Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav at a joint press conference in Lucknow, Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Lucknow: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk about development matters rather than other issues in his campaign speeches, and said "mutton-chicken", "Hindu-Muslim" are his words and not ours.

His remarks came after Prime Minister Modi in an interview to News 18 said he won't be fit for public life if he starts playing the Hindu-Muslim card.

"Why is the PM not seeking votes on the work he did in the last 10 years," he said at a joint press conference with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav here.

On PM Modi's remarks that he has never discriminated between Hindu and Muslim, Kharge responded, "Had the prime minister not said mutton, beef, chicken, fish and mangalsutra. These words are not mine but his (PM's).

"I am saying that leave these things, tell people about the work you did and seek votes on its behalf. They talk of mutton-chicken not us," Kharge said.

The Congress chief asserted that the opposition INDIA bloc is in a strong position after four phases of Lok Sabha polls and that the people of the country are prepared to bid farewell to Prime Minister Modi.

"Four rounds of polling have been completed in the country. The INDIA bloc is in a very strong position. I can say with full confidence that the people of the country have prepared to bid farewell to Narendra Modi. INDIA bloc is going to form the new government on June 4," he said.

The SP chief claimed the alliance will win 79 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.

"INDIA bloc will win 79 seats in Uttar Pradesh. It is in contest only on just one seat 'Kyoto'," Yadav said referring to the PM's parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.

The PM and the BJP have earlier stated that they will develop Varanasi like Kyoto, a picturesque city in Japan.

Kharge also claimed that the BJP will change the Constitution if it comes to power again.

"These people are trying to change the Constitution. RSS leader Mohan Bhagawat said it first. It was said in Karnataka that two third majority is needed to change the Constitution. In Uttar Pradesh, so many from the BJP have talked of changing the Constitution," Kharge said.

He asked why PM Modi has not taken any action against those who talk of changing the Constitution.

"I am surprised that Modi remains quiet on this. You talk of strength and 56 inch chest, why don't you scare them, expel them from the party. One should not say such things against the Constitution," he added.

Acusing the prime minister of lying and abusing the Congress party and its leaders, he said, "I think he (PM) would have not taken the name of Lord Ram as many times as he abuses Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and the remaining times to Priyanka Gandhi and me," Kharge said.

The Congress chief also promised to provide 10 kg free ration per month to the poor if his party is voted to power.

"If INDIA bloc government is formed, we will provide 10 kg of free ration per month to the poor," he said while noting that the Congress made a law -- the Food Security Act -- to ensure food is provided to the poor.

Yadav said with the completion of four phases of polling, the "lies of BJP have also reached the summit and are now tumbling down".

"The BJP is stuck in its own negative narrative. When we look back all their promises turned out to be false. Sensing defeat, the BJP people have changed the language in their addresses. The time for negative politics is up and the people of the country want a change which is coming on June 4," Yadav said.

The former UP chief minister, who is in fray from the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat, said that in Bundelkhand region of the state the BJP will not win a single seat.

He also attacked the state government over exam paper leak.

While the Congress is contesting on 17 seats in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party is from 62 seats. The All India Trinamool Congress, which is part of the INDIA bloc, has pitted its candidate from Bhadohi.

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