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Congress is a party for Muslim men: Narendra Modi

Modi said: "For the last two days I am hearing, that a naamdar leader (Rahul Gandhi) recently said that Congress is a party of Muslims. I'm not surprised."

Updated: Jul 14, 2018, 10.38 PM IST
PM Modi takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, asks ‘Is Congress party only for Muslim men?'
PM Modi takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, asks ‘Is Congress party only for Muslim men?'
AZAMGARH: Days ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament when the government is likely to push a bill against triple talaq, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today mocked Congress for being a party which stood only with Muslim men.

"The real face of these parties was revealed by their approach on triple talaq," he said, accusing the opposition parties of ignoring the plight of Muslim women who suffered because of the practice.

Modi was addressing a public meeting here as part of his two-day visit to eastern Uttar Pradesh, where he also laid the foundation stone for the 340-km Purvanchal Expressway.

"I read in the newspaper that the Congress president had said that the Congress is a party of Muslims, and there has been discussion on this for the past two days," he said in an apparent reference to a report on a meeting of Rahul Gandhi with Muslim intellectuals.

While the Congress had denied the charge - refuting it again today after the PM's speech - that it cared only for Muslims, Modi harped on it.

"I am not surprised as when Manmohan Singh was the PM, he had said that Muslims have the first right over natural resources," Modi said.

"But I want to ask the Congress whether it is a party of Muslim men alone," he added, referring to the alleged reluctance of the party to back legislation to protect Muslim women from instant divorce.

"On one side the Centre is making efforts to ease and improve the lives of women and on the other, these parties are working to put the lives of women, especially Muslim women, in danger," the prime minister said.

"Crores of Muslim women have always demanded that triple talaq should be banned, as it is also banned in Islamic countries," he said.

The criticism comes ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament where The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 abolishing instant triple talaq is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

It was passed earlier in the Lok Sabha where the NDA has a clear majority.

The Congress and some other opposition parties have expressed reservations on the bill, and the ruling BJP has accused them of trying to stall it.

"Is there any place for the dignity and the rights of Muslim women? They have stalled legislation in Parliament, and they do not allow Parliament to run," Modi said.

"These dynastic parties are toiling to oust Modi. I want to tell them that there are still four or five days left for the Parliament session to begin. Meet the victims of talaq and halala, ask them about their plight, and then put your point of view in Parliament," he said.

"In the 21st century, these political parties are living in 18th century," he said.

"When the BJP brought the anti-talaq legislation, these parties had put hurdles even then. They want that triple talaq should continue, and the life of Muslim women should remain miserable," he said.

"But I assure you that I will make these political parties understand, and take them along so that Muslim women do not face any problems due to triple talaq," he said.

The prime minister was in Azamgarh to lay the foundation stone for the 340-km Purvanchal Expressway which will connect Lucknow with Ghazipur at a cost of Rs 23,000 crore.

Modi then left for Varanasi to address another rally and inaugurate a slew of development project. He will visit Mirzapur tomorrow.

He said people should cautious of the opposition and its leaders.

"They cannot do any good for the people. For the BJP government, the country is a family and above everything else," he said.

Modi hit out at the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, saying that in the name of Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Ram Manohar Lohia they have done only politics.

"These parties which could not see eye to eye in the past have joined hands now. Do you know why? They want to stall the development work by the government. Will you allow this?" the prime minister asked.

"They had sought votes from the poor, the Dalits and the backwards, and after forming the government they filled their own coffers and have done nothing else," he said.

He said because of the policies of the previous governments, eastern Uttar Pradesh had languished.

Hours before Modi laid the foundation stone for the Purvanchal Expressway, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav sought to take the wind out of his sails by claiming it was his own government's project which was being relaunched.

"This was originally Samajwadi Purvanchal Expressway, but the word Samajwadi has been dropped," the Samajwadi Party chief told a press conference at the party headquarters in Lucknow.

Yadav claimed that the "relaunched" project settled for lower standards and has cut down on amenities like service lanes and lights.

At the prime minister's rally, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attacked the SP, saying that in the name of `samajwad', the party was practising nepotism and hooliganism.

On Akhilesh Yadav's remarks, he said the erstwhile SP government had floated tenders for the expressway without acquiring land or even taking an environment clearance.

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