Published On: Fri, Jul 13th, 2018

Rahul playing communal politics ahead of 2019 election: BJP

New Delhi: The BJP on Friday claimed that Congress President Rahul Gandhi described his own party as a “Muslim party” and said he was playing communal politics ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Sitharaman said the Congress shall be solely responsible if any disharmony takes between now and the 2019 elections

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nirmala Sitharam told the media: “Rahul Gandhi said that the Congress is a Muslim party. He must come clean and clarify his statement.

“Only yesterday … the Congress President met a lot of Muslim intellectuals… And he said a whole lot of things (that) Muslims are the next Dalits. If all the Muslims who constitute 15 per cent of population of Bihar vote for us, that alone won’t help us. We need Yadavs also.

“And to this he adds how his party plans to correct the course. This is an attempt to incite religion-based clashes,” Sitharaman said.

Hitting out at the Congress leader, she alleged: “Rahul Gandhi became a janeu-dhaari during the Karnataka elections and now he has become a Muslim-dhaari.

“By calling Muslims the next Dalits, what is he conveying?” she asked.

Sitharaman said the Congress shall be solely responsible if any disharmony takes between now and the 2019 elections.

“This closely resembles what happened in 1947 when the country was divided on the communal lines. Congress is playing a dangerous game playing the card of religion.”

On the other hand dismissing speculation, Sitharaman said that the first 2+2 India-US strategic dialogue, deferred at the last minute last month, will now take place in the first week of September.

“The 2+2 dialogue with the US is to happen in the first week of September. The agenda will be to develop and strengthen strategic defence cooperation and to follow-on with what had transpired during the meeting with US Defence Secretary Jim Matti”,” she said.

The minister asserted that there were no reasons for deferring the talks other than the fact that the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to be in North Korea in the first week of July for unscheduled meetings with officials of that country.

“That was the only window (available to them for North Korea talks). There is no other reason.”

The structured talks between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries were scheduled to happen in the first week of July. As such Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj were to meet US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on July 6.

But days before that, the US informed India that the meetings had to be put off due to “unavoidable reasons”.

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