Begusarai: Union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh on Tuesday said the Election Commission should ban the use of green flags, often associated with political and religious bodies associated with Muslims, alleging that they spread hate and create a perception of being used in Pakistan.
Known for his hardline Hindutva views that have often triggered controversies, Singh said his fight from this parliamentary constituency is against a “gang” working for “breaking up” India, and asserted that he represents the agenda of cultural nationalism and development.
In an interview to PTI, the saffron party leader asserted the BJP-led NDA would improve its 2014 tally of 31 seats in Bihar (which has total 40 LS seats) and it is PM Narendra Modi himself who is the alliance candidate on every seat and all contesting leaders “are his symbols”.
Singh claimed opposition parties are trying to polarise voters on communal lines, as he referred to Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s recent suggestion to Muslims at an election rally in Bihar to vote unitedly to oust Modi from power. The Election Commission on Monday banned Sidhu from campaigning for 72 hours.
Singh claimed that Rahul Gandhi chose to contest from Wayanad seat in Kerala as part of a “well-planned” strategy to divide India on religious lines as was the case during the pre-independence era leading to the creation of Pakistan. Did you see the procession in Wayanad when Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers? It seemed he was going to contest from Rawalpindi in Pakistan. The flags seen there bore so much resemblance with Pakistan flags.
They spread hate, not love,” he said and demanded that the Election Commission should ban them. Wayanad has a sizeable Muslim population and the Indian Union Muslim League, a Congress ally in Kerala, has a strong presence in the region. The IUML’s flag is of green colour.
“What does that flag show? Journalists like you ask if I think it is a Pakistani flag. It is not about this. The perception was, when those flags were seen, that this nomination is happening in Rawalpindi,” Singh said. When told that Muslims have been using green flags long before Pakistan came into being in 1947, Singh shot back, saying, “That is why. To me this is reflective of Pakistan.”
In a swipe at the opposition party, Singh said Congress in its next manifesto seek talk about redefining the minorities in the country. He said Sidhu has talked about “64 per cent” minorities in his speech in Katihar, while they are 98 per cent in Kashmir, over 70 per cent in Kishanganj and 15-18 per cent in Begusarai, but they are called minority everywhere.
Opposition parties, Singh asserted, have no constructive agenda as development has touched the poor for the first time under the Modi government. Lalu Prasad, the head of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and Communists, who enjoyed influence in the region for decades before their power waned considerably, have “destroyed” Begusarai, he said.
On the other hand, Modi after becoming Prime Minister has worked to revive industries, including a refinery in Barauni and fertilizer projects, the BJP leader said. Singh said his rivals show a “distorted mindset” over issues of development and nationalism and his job is to awaken people to ensure that they cast their votes for his agenda of cultural nationalism and development.
Asserting that Bihar will throw up a surprise when results are announced with a better tally for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) than 31 seats it got in 2014, Singh said, “Modi is the alliance candidate on every seat and we are all his symbols”.
People voted for Modi’s goodwill in 2014, but this time there is goodwill and his government’s work that will result in the NDA getting more votes than the last time, he said. The presence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) in the NDA will further help the alliance, he added.