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What Cong needs to beat Modi: 'International conspiracy'

Congress is unable to strike alliances inside the country, so is looking outside the country: PM

By Our Special Correspondent in New Delhi

  • Published 26.09.18, 2:40 AM
  • Updated 26.09.18, 2:40 AM
BJP president Amit Shah shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the rally in Bhopal on Tuesday.
BJP president Amit Shah shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the rally in Bhopal on Tuesday. Image credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the Congress of striking alliances outside the country in an effort to oust him from power, returning to the theme of “international conspiracy” a day after BJP leaders had taken the line to counter the Rafale controversy.

“The Congress is unable to strike alliances inside the country and so is looking outside the country. Will the world now decide who will be the Prime Minister of the country?” Modi told party workers in Bhopal.

“What has happened to you, Congress party? Have you lost your balance?”

Modi did not directly refer to the combat jet deal with France but appeared to be responding to the Congress’s relentless attack on the deal the NDA government had finalised after scrapping the one the UPA had reached with France.

On Monday, BJP leaders led by the party’s national chief, Amit Shah, had accused the Congress of toeing Pakistan’s “Modi hatao” line, while alleging an “international mahagathbandhan (alliance)” to defeat Modi in next year’s general election.

The BJP has also alleged a conspiracy between Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and former French President Francois Hollande in fuelling the Rafale controversy.

“International alliances” and “international conspiracy” are new terms in the political lexicon of the BJP, which had so far slammed the Opposition for forming an “unholy” or “opportunistic” alliance only to defeat Modi.

Pakistan had also been a favourite target but, with the Rafale row snowballing, the party has now moved beyond the immediate neighbourhood to suggest that the number of international forces ranged against it could be higher.

The mega conclave of party workers in Bhopal was aimed at boosting their morale ahead of the year-end elections in Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is believed to be battling years of anti-incumbency.

Modi chose to fire up the party workers by harping on the Congress, which he said had become a “burden for the country”. He also accused the Congress of treating Madhya Pradesh like an “enemy”.

The Prime Minister said the Congress had been reduced to begging before small parties, alluding to the Opposition’s efforts to stitch up an alliance for next year’s parliamentary polls.

“The Congress is going around begging with folded hands before smaller parties seeking alliances…. Had the Congress worked for the country, such times wouldn’t have befallen the party,” he told the BJP conclave, adding that “arrogance” and a “sense of entitlement” was responsible for the Opposition party’s slide.

The Prime Minister also mentioned the word “termite” — a term Shah had used for Bangladeshi infiltrators. Modi, however, used it in a different context, saying the “termite of vote-bank politics” had divided and distressed the country while calling it a legacy of the Congress’s “sin”.

Modi called Shah, who spoke before him, one of the best party presidents and claimed other parties were being forced to look for a chief like Shah.

Shah lauded Modi’s commitment to work for the people. He slammed the Congress and spoke on the issue of “ghuspaithiya” (infiltrators), saying the BJP was committed to driving out all illegal infiltrators from the country.

He asked the party workers to spread the message among the people of Madhya Pradesh that the BJP was the only party dedicated to ensuring the country’s safety and security.