(PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)
(PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)

Mumbai: Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced the name of Pragya Singh Thakur, the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, as its candidate from the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, the opposition Congress has hit out at the party for promoting and protecting saffron terrorism. However, Amit Shah, national president of the BJP, has refuted these the allegations and said his party does not believe there exiists anything called saffrron terrorism.

Shah was speaking with ‘Navshakti’, the Marathi newspaper and sister publication of The Free Press Journal, in between poll campaigns, as he was flying from Jalgaon to Sangli. Advocating the candidature of Thakur, Shah said that Hindu culture is never inclined towards terrorism.

When asked why the BJP is constantly targeting the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi, Shah said, “The BJP does not fear Rahul Gandhi. We are not against the Gandhi family. Our battle is not personal and against the Gandhi family, but against the ideology of Gandhi and the Congress. We want to eradicate such an ideology. That is the meaning of Congress-mukt Bharat. (Congress-free India),” said Shah.

The anti-incumbency factor saw the BJP lose power in four states, would that be a factor in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls? “It is true, people were not happy with the then ruling government in the four states. But in the general election, the anti-incumbency factor has not been in evidence anywhere in the country. On the contrary, there are new voters in favour of the BJP,” he claimed.

Further, he said, “The Congress made several announcements to eradicate poverty in the last 50 years . However, the situation remained unchanged. On the other hand, the BJP has tried to empower the poor through several schemes. As a result, people have deposited more than Rs one lakh crore in Jan Dhan accounts. It’s a big achievement. It is a big example of people’s faith in the BJP.”

Shah claims the BJP will perform better in West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha and in the northeast states in the general election. “In 2014, BJP was in power only in 15 states. Now, our presence is in most states across the country. The last time, we lost 65 seats. This time, we have concentrated on those seats,” he explained.

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his hard work, Shah said, Modi had not taken a single day off from work. “He is a hard worker and has the capacity to take any decision,” he said. When asked about the Ram Mandir issue, Shah said the construction of the Ram temple was on the BJP’s agenda. “But, we believe in democracy and the judicial system. Hence, we are awaiting the judgment of the Supreme Court,” he explained.

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