Congress Files Complaint After BJP Calls Manifesto “Muslim League Imprint”

The Congress released its 2024 Lok Sabha election manifesto on Friday (File).

New Delhi:

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party exchanged sharp attacks Monday over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Muslim League imprint” and “bundle of lies” jibe at his rival’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha election.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has led the fightback – he said the BJP is aware it is going to lose this election and is acting out of fear – and the party has filed a complaint with the Election Commission.

On Saturday, while addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, the Prime Minister declared the Congress’ manifesto “completely bears the imprint of the Muslim League”.

“Congress issued a bundle of lies in its manifesto… every page reeks of attempts to tear India apart. It reflects the thoughts the Muslim League had before independence,” the PM had said.

READ | PM’s “Muslim League”, “Tukde” Jab At Congress’ Manifesto Promises

He repeated that claim at a rally in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar this morning, after which BJP President JP Nadda said, “Congress has been repeatedly rejected but they are insistent on politics of appeasement. I saw the manifesto and was surprised. Is it their manifesto or that of the Muslim League…”

A few hours after that Congress retaliated – by filing one complaint with the Election Commission against Mr Modi and another against Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (the BJP’s candidate for Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram) for providing “false information” in his election affidavit.

“We have raised many issues… including how the Prime Minister referred to our manifesto as a “copy of the Muslim League” and about Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s election affidavits,” the Congress’ Pawan Khera told reporters. Mr Khera and other top leaders met the poll panel this afternoon.

The “Muslim League imprint” jab also drew a fierce retort from Mr Kharge, who attacked the Prime Minister and Home Minister Amit Shah for “spreading falsehood”.

In a strong swipe at the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, he said “everyone knows how (Syama) Prasad Mookerjee “formed his governments in Bengal, Sindh, and NWFP (North West Frontier Province) in the 1940s in coalition with the Muslim League”.

“Modi-Shah’s political and ideological ancestors supported the British and Muslim League against the Indians in the freedom struggle…” Mr Kharge posted on X.

“Modi-Shah’s ideological ancestors opposed Gandhi’s call for Quit India in 1942, which was chaired by Maulana Azad. There is a stink of RSS in Modiji‘s speeches… BJP’s electoral graph is plunging day by day. Therefore RSS has started remembering its best friend – the Muslim League!” Mr Kharge said.

Earlier, too, after the PM’s initial jibe, the Congress had said he “does not know his history”.

The Congress pointed out that Jana Sangh founder and BJP ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee himself was part of a coalition government in Bengal with the Muslim League in the early 1940s.

“The Prime Minister does not know his history. It was, in fact, none other than Mookerjee, the president of the Hindu Mahasabha then, who was himself part of the coalition government in Bengal with the Muslim League… It is the BJP, not the Congress, that believes in and practices the politics of divisiveness,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The section of the manifesto – released Friday – that has sparked this row is a guarantee to increase reservation for marginalised groups, including Dalits, past the Supreme Court’s 50 per cent cap.

“The Muslim League talked about reservation on basis of religion in 1929… Congress is repeating the same thing. The way there is talk of reservation on basis of religion and promise of reservation beyond 50 per cent… who is to be benefitted, Congress should make it clear,” Mr Nadda said.

READ | Congress Manifesto Focuses On Unemployment, Promises Caste Census

The Congress manifesto also focuses on job creation and infrastructure development, and makes several other promises, including guaranteeing MSP, or minimum support price, to protesting farmers and direct cash transfers to women heads of below poverty line families.

With input from agencies

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