BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday hit out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for "defaming" Hindus across the world by allegedly linking their religion to "terror". Continuing his attack on the Congress, he said when the whole country was rejoicing over the air strike on a terror camp in Balakot, there was an atmosphere of gloom only in Pakistan and the Rahul Gandhi-led party.
Shah also took a dig at Gandhi's public rallies in Wayanad, the second Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, after Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, from where he is contesting. Shah said Gandhi's rallies in Wayanad appeared as they were being organised in Pakistan.
He was addressing an election rally in support of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is the BJP's candidate for the Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency. Shah referred to the acquittal of all the accuse din the 2007 Samjhauta train blast case, including Swami Aseemanand, to slam the main opposition party.
"I want to ask Congress party and its leaders, Sushilkumar Shinde, P Chidambaram (both former Union Home Ministers) and Rahul Gandhi why they defamed the Hindu community in the world by talking about Hindu terror and `bhagwa' (saffron) terror," the BJP chief said.
The court has said there is no thing as "Hindu terror", he said. "Rahul Gandhi has defamed the Hindu community in the world and he should apologise before the entire Hindu community before the elections," said Shah.
He hit out at National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for advocating a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir. "Omar Abdullah wants a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir.Does he think, Kashmir is someone's father's property?
"Listen carefully Omar Abdullah and Rahul Gandhi, whether we are in power or in opposition, no one can take Kashmir away from India till the BJP is there. Hence, our manifesto talks about scrapping Articles 370 and 35A," he said.
The two Articles of the Constitution relate to special status for Jammu and Kashmir and rights and privileges of its residents. Shah targeted Gandhi over his candidature from Wayanad, which has a significant population of minority communities.
"Rahul Gandhi has stood from such a seat in Kerala that during a rally one cannot differentiate whether it is in Pakistan or in India," said Shah. The BJP chief asked the people gathered at the rally whether or not the air strike on a terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan post the Pulwama terror attack was justified. "After the Balakot air strike, the whole country was in joyous mood, but the mood in Pakistan and Congress party was gloomy," he said.
"(Congress leader) Sam Pitroda advocated talks with Pakistan. Tell me whether or not the bombing of terrorists involved in the Pulwama attack was justified?" he asked. "Rahul baba .. you can do ILU ILU with terrorists, but we will give "eent ka jawab patthar se" (a resolute and befitting reply)," Shah said.
He said Gadkari has undertaken a lot of development work in his constituency in the last five years. "The BJP-Sena alliance will win all the seven seats in Vidarbha (voting in the first phase on April 11)," he said. Maharashtra got more grant under the Modi government than the UPA dispensation, the BJP chief said.
"The 13th Finance Commission under the UPA government had given Rs 1.15 lakh crore to Maharashtra. But the 14th Finance Commission under the Narendra Modi government gave Rs 4.38 lakh crore to Maharashtra," he said.
Shah said the Congress did not find a nominee against Gadkari and hence it had to "import" its candidate from outside. Gadkari is pitted against Nana Patole of the Congress. Patole had won the 2014 Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket from the Bhandara-Gondiya seat in Vidarbha. He quit the the BJP in 2017 and later joined the Congress.
Patole was earlier an MLA of the Congress. During his speech, Shah also listed the promises made in the BJP manifesto for farmers and traders, among other sections of the society. Nagpur is among the seven Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra that will vote on April 11. Tuesday was the last day of campaigning in these parliamentary seats.