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Rahul didn't attend Ram temple consecration out of fear of losing 'Bhendi Bazaar' vote bank: Shah

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Mumbai, May 13 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday claimed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi did not attend the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya as he feared losing his "Bhendi Bazaar" vote bank.

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The mention of Bhendi Bazaar is significant given it is a Muslim-dominated area in south Mumbai.

He also asserted that despite the Congress' opposition to the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), the BJP government will introduce the common law.

Shah addressed election rallies in Dhule district in north Maharashtra and Vasai, where he accused Congress of not removing Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir because of appeasement politics.

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This government will not run as per Sharia Law, Shah said while addressing a campaign rally at Vasai near Mumbai.

"Rahul Gandhi didn't visit the Ram Temple inauguration because he feared losing his vote bank, the vote bank of Bhendi Bazar," Shah said while campaigning for Hemant Savara, the BJP nominee from Palghar Lok Sabha constituency, who is pitted against Bharti Kamdi of Shiv Sena (UBT).

Shah alleged the "Sonia-Manmohan Singh government" was involved in corruption amounting to Rs 12 lakh crore.

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"But there is no such allegation against the Narendra Modi government (in the last 10 years)," he said.

"I want to ask Uddhav Thackeray whether he is comfortable to sit with people who were soft on (Pakistani terrorist) Ajmal Kasab. The Congress is against UCC, but we will introduce it for sure. This government will not run as per the Sharia Law," the Home Minister added.

Earlier in the day, Shah addressed a campaign rally in Dhule district for BJP's Dhule Lok Sabha seat candidate and former Union minister Subhash Bhamre.

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Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only helped in the resolution of the Ram temple issue but also facilitated its construction.

Shah also targeted Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and Congress ally Uddhav Thackeray on Rahul Gandhi opposing the abrogation of article 370.

The Congress did not remove Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir because of the appeasement politics, the senior BJP leader alleged.

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He claimed Rahul Gandhi and Congress insulted (Hindutva ideologue) Veer Savarkar. "What does Thackeray have to say about it?" "I also want a clarification from Uddhav Thackeray. One of the constituents of the opposition INDIA bloc is DMK led by M K Stalin, and his son Udhayanidhi Stalin has insulted Sanatan Dharma. Does Uddhav agree with them?" Shah said.

In a dig, he said at least 20 attempts were made to "launch and relaunch" Rahul Gandhi as a leader.

"Can he or his government ever give a befitting response to Pakistan? Can they end Naxalism or terrorism in the country? Can they make India prosperous?" Shah asked.

Dhule and Mumbai South constituencies will go to polls on May 20. PTI ND GK NSK

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