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PM Modi was preparing 'communal pitch' but we refused to play on it: Cong

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Tuesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been indulging in polarisation throughout the election and preparing a "communal pitch", but it refused to play on that and pursued its ' paach nyay ' agenda. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh 's attack came over Modi's remarks in an interview with PTI in which he had said that he has never uttered a word against minorities, and the BJP has "not just today but never" acted against them.

Ramesh claimed that Prime Minister Modi 's entire campaign from April 19 has been based on "communalisation" with the Hindu-Muslim rhetoric throughout and "no talk of Viksit Bharat , Modi ki guarantee, or issues of the farmers, youth, women, workers, SCs, STs and OBCs".

Asked about the remarks, Ramesh told PTI, "What nonsense is he talking about. This prime minister is fast losing his memory. He has never had any adherence to truth. He is 'jhoothjeevi', but now what he says today, he forgets tomorrow and says he never said it."

"Of course he has been attacking the Congress party and has been talking of Hindu-Muslim," he said.

Ramesh said the PM had raised the issue of 'Muslim League' imprint on the Congress manifesto, the mangalsutra remarks and the allegation that the Congress will give reservations on the basis of religion, which were all "bogus statements".

"This is the prime minister who, when asked some years ago whether he had any remorse at the killings during the Gujarat riots, said even when a small puppy comes under a car, one feels bad. This is the language that he has used," Ramesh said.

He alleged that the prime minister's entire campaign from April 19 has based on "communalisation and polarisation".

"It has been Hindu-Muslim rhetoric all through, no talk of Viksit Bharat, no talk of Modi ki guarantee, no talk of issues of the farmers, youth, women, workers, of the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs...it has been a communal agenda," Ramesh said.

The prime minister has been preparing a "communal pitch" and wants the Congress to play on that pitch but "we refused to play on that pitch", he said.

"We have refused to do it because our agenda is the 'paanch nyay' -- yuva nyay, kisaan nyay, shramik nyay, naari nyay and hissedari nyay and the 25 guarantees we have given," the Congress leader said.

On Prime Minister Modi remarks in the interview, asserting that even if one assumes he acts out of self-interest, his own welfare lies in the welfare of the Constitution, Ramesh said that on November 26, 1949, the Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly and B R Ambedkar made a speech a day before in which he said that without the Congress, the Constitution would not have been made possible.

"Four days after the Constitution was adopted, the Organiser, which is an RSS publication, says there is nothing Indian about the Constitution because there are no 'manuvadi values'. Subsequently M S Golwalkar, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Mohan Bhagwat, Bibek Debroy, so many spokespersons have been attacking this Constitution, saying the time for this Constitution is over," Ramesh alleged.

The Congress leader said the Constitution was a flexible document that can be amended but to do away with the document altogether "lock, stock and barrel" is another thing.

Ramesh claimed that when Atal Bihari Vajapayee became the prime minister, "L K Advani and company" wanted a committee to review the basic structure of the Constitution.

"They appointed justice JMNR Venkatachaliah, a very distinguished former chief justice, to head the panel but he said I am not going to be a party to doing away with the basic structure of this Constitution," he said.

Subsequently, the BJP-led dispensation had to change the nature of the committee to one that would review the working of the Constitution, he said.

"We (the Congress) of course boycotted that commission. So this has always been the objective of the BJP and the RSS. They are deeply uncomfortable and hostile to the idea of BR Ambedkar's Constitution because one of the pillars of this Constitution is social justice and the road to social justice is through reservation ," he said.

Ramesh asked why Prime Minister Modi is "silent" on the issue of caste census.

He also asked the prime minister to clear his stance as to whether he will remove the 50 per cent cap on reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs.

"Why has the PM not said a word on this, he is going around spreading an epidemic of lies that the Congress is giving reservations based on religion. Where have we given reservations based on religion? The 1994 reservations in Karnataka, which he keeps referring to, were given to minorities -- Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhists based on socio-economic criteria, and that is how they were introduced in the reservation law," he said.

"Subsequently, the PM in an interview to a TV channel had said he himself given reservation to Muslims by adding them to OBC list. If PM does it, it is not religion-based reservation, if the Congress does it, even though it is based on socio-economic criteria, it is religion-based," Ramesh said.

Asked about the prime minister's remark that his Adani-Ambani comments were validated by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's comments, Ramesh said he does not know what the context of Chowdhury's remarks was but Modi should be asked why action has not been taken against the two businessmen.