Union minister Giriraj Singh said on Monday that Maoists, people with a casteist and feudal mindset, as well as supporters of terrorist Osama bin Laden had united against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre ahead of the 2019 General Elections. The minister added that despite all this, the NDA would win the elections.

The minister’s remarks come a day after BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed that a united Opposition was trying to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi from coming to power in 2019, and compared them to Lashkar-e-Taiba co-founder Hafiz Saeed, who is accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Patra also shared a video of Saeed making statements against Modi, adding that the Opposition and Saeed were desperately trying “to stop India from having Modi at it’s [sic] PM”.

However, Patra later said that he did not mean to compare the Opposition with Saeed. “Of course, this is not a comparison,” he said. “Modi ji’s attack on black money and corruption has brought the opposition on one page, while his attack on terrorism and the surgical strikes is pushing Hafiz Saeed to desperation.”

‘BJP takes refuge in Pakistan when it loses an election’: Congress

In response, the Congress alleged that the BJP takes refuge in Pakistan in order to polarise people and divert public attention whenever it loses an election, reported PTI. The BJP lost the Kairana parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh in bye-elections held last week to a united opposition.

“The BJP knows it cannot win on development, that is why they try and divert by bringing in the name of Hafiz Saeed,” said Congress leader Pawan Khera said.

Khera claimed that there was “no consistent policy” for Jammu and Kashmir as far as Modi government was concerned and took a dig at the prime minister’s foreign trips. He said Modi had been frequently abroad in the last four years, “sometimes with an agenda [and] without results, sometimes without agenda [and] definitely without results”.