Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday claimed that the law against triple talaq has benefited thousands of Muslim women in Uttar Pradesh, PTI reported. He made the statement at an election rally in Akbarpur town of Kanpur Dehat district in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2019, Parliament had passed a Bill to criminalise the practice of divorce by uttering the word “talaq” thrice in any form – spoken, in writing, or over electronic communication. The Bharatiya Janata Party has repeatedly tried to take credit for doing away with the practice, even as the Supreme Court had struck down the provision of triple talaq as unconstitutional in 2017 itself.

“The life of Muslim women had gotten virtually destroyed by triple talaq,” Modi said at the rally in Akbarpur on Monday. “They were under constant fear of getting triple talaq. Today, we have given to every Muslim sister a law to protect themselves against triple talaq.”

The prime minister also claimed that the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has improved under Chief Minister Adityanath’s rule, which benefitted Muslim girls as they could go to schools without fear, PTI reported.

Modi’s claims betray latest data from the National Crime Record Bureau, which showed that in 2020, for the second straight year, Uttar Pradesh had recorded the highest number of crimes against women among all states.

Between 2015 and 2019, crimes against women increased by 66% in Uttar Pradesh, according to the data. The Adityanath-led BJP government came to power in 2017.

Meanwhile, Modi also accused the Trinamool Congress of trying to split Hindu votes in Goa, which went to polls in a single phase on Monday.

His comments were targeted at Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, who in a recent interview to The Times of India said that her party had formed an alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party in Goa to prevent a “consolidation of Hindu votes”.

Moitra had been asked that while the Trinamool Congress was trying to position itself as an alternative to the BJP in Goa, the party’s entry in the state politics could lead to a split in anti-BJP votes.

In response, Moitra had said that the Trinamool Congress had identified 13-14 seats in North Goa which the Congress could not have won, and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was in a direct fight with the BJP. By allying with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Trinamool Congress had prevented a consolidation of Hindu voters, Moitra had said.

However, at Monday’s rally, Modi misquoted The Times of India, claiming that the reporter had asked Moitra why the Trinamool Congress was contesting the Goa polls despite not having any support base in the state.

Modi claimed that in response, a Trinamool Congress leader had said: “We entered into an alliance with that party to split Hindu votes in Goa”. The prime minister said that the Election Commission should look into this comment.

‘Couldn’t offer prayers at Jalandhar temple’: Modi blames Punjab government

At another election rally in Punjab’s Jalandhar city, the prime minister claimed that he was unable to pray at the local Devi Talab Mandir as authorities could not make the necessary arrangements, PTI reported.

“They said you leave by helicopter, such is the situation of the government here,” Modi said.

Modi’s comment came a month after he had to abort his visit to Punjab’s Ferozepur on January 5, which led to a massive controversy. His convoy was stuck on a flyover for over 15 minutes as protestors had blocked the road to Hussainiwala village in the district. The Centre had termed it a “major security lapse”.

The prime minister also accused that the Congress removed Amarinder Singh as the chief minister of Punjab as the party could not run the state government by “remote control”, ANI reported.

Amarinder Singh had stepped down as Punjab’s chief minister on September 18 amid a tussle with state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. In October, he quit the Congress and floated a new party, the Punjab Lok Congress, which is contesting the state polls in an alliance with the BJP and the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukta).