Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday claimed that the Congress was following the path of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah instead of Mahatma Gandhi, ANI reported. He made the remark in an apparent reference to the party’s alliances for the Assembly elections in West Bengal, Assam and Kerala.
“Congress is not walking on Mahatma Gandhi’s path,” Chouhan said at a rally in Assam. “Rahul Gandhi is not following the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi. He is walking on the path of Jinnah. Neither the people of Assam nor the people of India will accept Jinnah’s path.”
Chouhan said that the Congress joined hands with Badruddin Ajmal, who “supported infiltrators and left no stone unturned in destroying Assam,” according to ANI. Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front is part of the Congress-led alliance in Assam.
The Madhya Pradesh chief minister added: “Ajmal talks about creating a Muslim nation. Ajmal is a man with whom even Tarun Gogoi did join hands. This is an insult to Gogoi too.”
Chouhan claimed that Assam did not develop under Congress’ rule. “Congress gave hunger, unemployment and poverty to Assam,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. “Under their governance, the state didn’t develop. But under leadership of PM Narendra Modi and Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam started advancing on the path of development.”
The Madhya Pradesh chief minister also accused Rahul Gandhi of trying to create a “north-south divide”, PTI reported. Chouhan alleged that the Congress was doing the same politics in Assam by creating discord between various tribes and communities.
Gandhi, at an event in Kerala last month, had spoken about how politics in North and South India were different.
Gandhi is the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala Wayanad district. The Congress leader said that he had become used to a “different kind of politics” when he was an MP in North India. “For me, coming to Kerala was very refreshing as suddenly I found that people are interested in issues, and not just superficially but going into details of issues,” he had said. Several BJP leaders criticised Gandhi for his comment.
Assembly elections are scheduled to take place in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. West Bengal and Assam will vote in multiple phases between March 27 and April 29. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will go to polls in a single phase on April 6. The counting of votes for all the states will take place on May 2.
In West Bengal, the Congress has allied with the Left and the newly formed Indian Secular Front, led by Pirzada Abbas Siddique, a cleric. In Kerala, the party has tied up with five outfits, including the Indian Union Muslim League.
Leaders within the Congress had criticised the party’s tie-up with Siddique’s outfit. The Indian Secular Front has earned the reputation of being a fundamentalist group due to the controversial comments made by Siddique in his religious speeches.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had said that the party’s alliance with ISF was against “Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism”. which is the core of the Congress. “Congress cannot be selective in fighting communalists but must do so in all its manifestations, irrespective of religion and colour,” Sharma had said.