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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

BJP doesn’t want my photos inside Kashi Temple to be seen in public, claims Rahul Gandhi in U.P.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on February 19 alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not want his pictures taken inside the Kashi Vishwanath Temple to come out in public and hence denied entry of mobile phones inside the temple when he visited the premises.

“I believe in Lord Shiva and when I went to Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, the policemen kept all the mobile phones there. This was done because BJP does not want Rahul Gandhi’s photo to be seen inside the Shiv temple,” alleged Mr. Gandhi, while undertaking his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Pratapgarh.

Mr. Gandhi, who toured Pratapgarh and Amethi, the parliamentary constituency he represented for 15 years in Lok Sabha, further accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of spreading hatred, adding that in the country there is no place for Dalits, tribals and the backward community.

“The Prime Minister does not know how this Budget is made and where the money goes. He only knows how to give speeches and spread hatred, that is why he has been made to sit there. ‘Adani-Ambani’ have made him sit there. There is no place for backward people, Dalits, tribals and general category poor in Narendra Modi’s India,” added Mr. Gandhi.

Addressing a public meeting in Amethi, the Congress leader accused the BJP government for making the country hollow from within. “The terrible injustice being done to backwards, Dalits, tribals and poor is making the country hollow from within. Therefore, Congress is going to take two revolutionary steps towards strengthening the country,” he said.

“The first step is caste census, which will be the X-ray of the country. The second step is mapping of wealth resources, which will help in knowing who has what and how much. India’s prosperity is impossible without making two-thirds of the deprived population a partner in the country’s progress,” he added.

Mr. Gandhi further attacked the BJP government for doing injustice with farmers, youth and underprivileged sections and helping a select few industrialists. “They [BJP] are filling the pockets of the rich corporates by cutting the pockets of the poor people. Unemployment is rampant in the country. Whenever anyone raises the issue, they would try to deviate you,” claimed the Congress leader, who is travelling from Manipur to Mumbai, covering 15 States, pushing for economic, social and political justice for every Indian in the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. The yatra entered U.P. via Chandauli on February 16 and is likely to spend roughly a week in the country’s most politically crucial state that comprises 80 Lok Sabha seats.

In his public meeting in Amethi, Mr. Gandhi did not touch upon the issue of contesting again from the constituency which he represented 15 years in Parliament, but Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Gandhi family shares a close relationship with the parliamentary seat.

“This is the place where Rajiv Gandhi ji, Sonia Gandhi ji and Rahul Gandhi ji worked hard. You [people from Amethi] share a deep relation with them [Gandhi family],” said Mr. Kharge, while speaking in Amethi.

In the 13 elections (including two bypolls) since 1980, only twice in 1998 and 2019 have a non-Congress candidate emerged victorious in Amethi with the Gandhi family winning the seat nine times. In 2019, Mr. Gandhi lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani by roughly 55,000 votes.

Smriti Irani dares Mr. Gandhi

Union Minister Smriti Irani, who was also in Amethi, dared Mr. Gandhi to contest only from Amethi in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. “Amethi’s former MP insulted the people of Amethi in Wayanad. Amethi was distressed due to this. Ram Lalla’s invitation was rejected by him and his family. I dare him [Mr. Gandhi] to contest from Amethi alone in the upcoming polls,” she told reporters in the district.

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