Amit Shah Appears To Mitigate Controversy Over PM Modi's 'Muslims' Remarks; But Questions Congress On Surveys

Amit Shah Appears To Mitigate Controversy Over PM Modi's 'Muslims' Remarks; But Questions Congress On Surveys

The home minister steered clear of using the word "Muslims" while questioning the Congress over its manifesto.

Vishakha SonawaneUpdated: Monday, April 22, 2024, 03:37 PM IST
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A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was bitterly criticised for likening Muslims to "infiltrators" and alleging that the Congress sought to redistribute the country's wealth to "infiltrators", Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday appeared to mitigate the situation. Shah, in his rally in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, alleged that former prime minister Manmohan Singh said the first claim on India's resources was that of "minorities". The home minister, however, steered clear of using the word "Muslims".

Shah questioned whether the Congress manifesto included the topic of conducting surveys. "The Congress party is upset because PM Modi said that the Congress party mentioned in their manifesto that they would conduct a survey of everyone's properties. PM Modi asked why conduct a survey," he said. Today, the entire Congress party is questioning PM Modi about this. I want to ask them whether their manifesto includes the topic of surveys or not. Former PM Manmohan Singh said that the first claim on resources should be that of minorities, not of tribals and Dalits."

Shah continued, "Congress has stated in its manifesto that they will conduct surveys on everyone's properties. Congress is targeting all the properties of monasteries, temples, and individuals across the country. Where is this money going?"

On Sunday, Modi stirred controversy by alleging that the Congress would redistribute India's wealth to "infiltrators" and those who have "several children".

"When they (the Congress) were previously in government, they had said that Muslims have the primary claim to the country's wealth. Does this imply that they would distribute this wealth to those with more children, to infiltrators? Are you willing to accept that your hard-earned money be given to infiltrators?" the prime minister said.

With Modi's remarks being heavily criticised, many called on to the Election Commission to take action against him for violating the Model Code of Conduct. Opposition leaders accused the prime minister of lowering the level of politics in India.

What did Manmohan Singh actually say?

In his Sunday's remarks, Modi had cited ex-prime minister Singh's speech from 2006.

Singh, at the time, said, "I believe our collective priorities are clear: agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programmes for the upliftment of SC/STs, other backward classes, minorities and women and children. The component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will need to be revitalised. We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources. The Centre has a myriad of other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within the over-all resource availability."

The former prime minister was criticised by the BJP at the time for his statement. However, calling the criticism a “deliberate and mischievous misinterpretation”, Singh had said that “first claim on resources” referred to all the “priority” areas mentioned, including the SC/STs, OBCs, minorities and women and children.

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