Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged on Wednesday that Chhattisgarh’s Bemetara district has become a hub of “love jihad” under the state’s Congress government headed by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, The Hindu reported.

“Love jihad” is a Hindutva conspiracy theory that Muslim men lure Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam. The Union home ministry has told Parliament that Indian law has no provision defining such a term.

Shah made the remarks while addressing a rally in the Saja Assembly constituency of Bemetara on the final day of campaigning before the second phase of the state elections.

Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh are being held in two phases. While the first phase was conducted on November 7 across 20 seats, the remaining 90 seats will go to polls on November 17. Results will be declared on December 3.

According to the Union home minister, Sahu, Kurmi and Gond communities had been “becoming a target of love jihad while the Baghel government was sleeping”.

“Who will wake them up?” asked Shah. “It is your votes. I promise, you bring the Bharatiya Janata Party to power, no one will dare commit such an act.”

He further alleged that Baghel had turned the Durg division from being an education hub to a “centre of betting”.

“Bhupesh kakka destroyed Durg division,” he said. “During the Raman Singh-led BJP government, the Durg division had become a centre of education. Bhupesh Baghel turned it into a centre of satta [betting].”

Targetting the chief minister over a “betting app scam”, he asked why was the name “Mahadev” used. “Modi ji sent ‘Chandrayaan’ to the moon and named the spot [where it landed] Shivshakti, expressing reverence to Lord Shiva and Maa Shakti,” said Shah. “But Bhupesh kakka named a betting app after Mahadev and insulted him.”

On November 2, the Enforcement Directorate alleged that Baghel was paid Rs 508 crore by a cash courier sent from the United Arab Emirates by the promoters of the Mahadev app.

Mahadev Online Book, a betting app, reportedly enabled illegal betting in live games such as poker, cricket, tennis and football as well as on elections in India.

Baghel, however, had said that the allegations show that the BJP is using central agencies to tarnish his image.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party wants to contest Chhattisgarh elections with the help of agencies like ED, IT, DRI and CBI,” Baghel said in a social media post, earlier in November. “Just before the elections, ED has made the most malicious attempt to tarnish my image. This is a political attempt to defame the popular Congress government which is being done through ED.”

He alleged that the Enforcement Directorate had first raided the homes of people close to him to defame them and now on the basis of the statement of an unknown person, the agency has accused him of taking Rs 508 crore in bribes.

Baghel said that the central agency highlighted the statement even though the claim is still being investigated. “If investigation has not been done then issuing a press release on the statement of one person not only reveals the intentions of the ED but also reveals the bad intentions of the Central government behind it,” he said.