On the last day of campaigning for the first phase of Gujarat elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused his attack on Kapil Sibal for seeking deferment of the Ayodhya dispute till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and panned Congress for linking the issue with polls.
“Yesterday in the Supreme Court, a Congress MP Kapil Sibal was arguing for the Babri Masjid. He is entitled to do that but is it right for him to say postpone hearing till 2019? Now, the Congress is linking Ram Mandir with elections. They are least bothered about the nation,” Modi said at a rally in Dhandhuka.
Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Wakf Board, Kapil Sibal requested the Supreme Court to set the date for next hearing on the lawsuit over the title to the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site after July 2019 since “the case has ramifications on polity of India”. Though Sibal did not mention elections, it was apparent to all present that he wanted the court to hear the matter only after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Sibal’s contention was, however, not accepted by the court, which decided to hear the matter on February 8 next year.
Modi, then, recalled how his government decided to oppose ‘triple talaq’ in the Supreme Court risking a possible backlash in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. “When the triple talaq matter was in Supreme Court, the government had to put in their affidavit. Newspapers commented that Modi will remain silent because of UP polls. People told me not to speak on the matter else there will be losses in elections,” the PM said.
Modi, however, said for him the betterment of humanity came first and elections later. “Everything is not about elections. This issue is for the rights of women…elections come later humanity comes first,” he said, even as he reiterated for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
Continuing his attack on Kapil Sibal in Dahod, which has the second largest population of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Muslims in India, Modi lauded the Sunni Waqf Board for rejecting the contention of their lawyer, Sibal, and pitching for a time-bound solution to the matter.
“The Sunni Waqf Board has stated that yes, Kapil Sibal may be our lawyer, but what he said in the court is absolutely wrong. Everyone wants a time bound solution except Congress and their leaders. The board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Kapil Sibal,” the PM said.
About 350 km away, addressing a rally at Ghariyadhar in Bhavnagar district, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too echoed the PM’s sentiments on the Ayodhya issue. Hitting out at Sibal, he said,”Work at Ramjanmabhoomi was to start. But Kapil Sibal said it should not start. The Congress has to answer if the temple will be built in Ayodhya or not.”
Accusing the Congress of trying to divide the country along caste lines, Adityanath said the party was trying was keeping one leg in each boat. “People who do that drown,” the CM said. Lauding the Gujarat model of development Adityanath said even the US President Donald Trump was enamoured by it.
“During the presendential elections in US, when Donald Trump was asked what he would do for the development of America, he said he would develop it like how Modi has done in India. Even the head of the most powerful country respects our PM,” he asserted.
Wednesday was Dr B R Ambedkar’s 61st death anniversary and the PM left no stone unturned in slamming the Congress for the ‘injustice meted out to the architect of the Constitution.’ “One family has done greatest injustice to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Sardar Patel. When Pandit Nehru’s influence on the Congress was complete, the Congress ensured that Ambedkar found it tough to join the Constituent Assembly. Congress did not think of conferring the Bharat Ratna on Ambedkar,” Modi said.
A focal point of the opposition’s tirade against the ruling party has been the lack of employment in the state. Congress president-to-be Rahul Gandhi has consistently hit out at the Vijay Rupani government over the slow pace of job growth and economic policies. Countering the opposition attack, Modi said his aim was to make every youth self-reliant. “BJP efforts ensured that youngsters in Gujarat got access to technology and there are more educational institutions to study. Our aim is to make our youth self-reliant,” he said.
Taking a dig at Gandhi, who has been on a temple-visiting spree while campaigning for the polls, Modi said, “BJP has done development in Gujarat by adding using every single penny. It is not done by visiting temple after temple.”