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Congress praised Naik whose 'words caused' Lanka blasts: PM

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 1, 2019  | 21:23 IST

(Eds: Updates with fresh quotes, details) Itarsi (MP), May 1 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday alleged the Congress praised controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, "whose words have triggered blasts in Sri Lanka killing 300 people", and its leaders were baying for his blood in their dream. Addressing an election rally here in Madhya Pradesh, he said the Rahul Gandhi-led party has nothing but hatred for him, but he has support of the entire country. "Zakir Naik's words have caused blasts in Sri Lanka, leaving 300 people dead. His TV channel was banned two or three days ago," Modi said. "Who is Zakir Naik? He is the one whom (Congress veteran) Digvijaya Singh use to glorify unabashedly. You will be shocked to learn that Zakir Naik addressed Indian police officers, that too on terrorism, under the (previous) Congress dispensation," he said. "Shame on Congress...and its vote-bank politics. They are glorifying Zakir Naik and calling him an apostle of peace," he added. Singh is the Congress's Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, where he is pitted against BJP's Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case. Naik, a Mumbai-based televangelist accused of inciting youth for terror activities and giving inflammatory speeches, is said to be currently residing in Malaysia. Apparently referring to a reported statement of Congress leader and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, Modi said, "I heard that a Congress motormouth leader came here and said hit Modi for such a six that he lands out of the boundary dead. "This was the statement of a Congress leader. Think. They have so much hatred for your Modi. So much hatred that they have started dreaming of killing Modi. "But they are forgetting that from Modi's side, not just the people of Madhya Pradesh but of entire India are batting." The PM said the Congress has to now clarify its position on terrorism. "The Congress people should reveal whether they are playing for India or Pakistan," he quipped. "If you all are thinking that Congress deliveries were without line and length, you are mistaken. The Congress is doing this under a pre-planned strategy." Hitting out at the Congress over its manifesto, Modi said they wanted to remove the Army from Jammu and Kashmir and also withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the militancy-affected state. He dubbed the Congress manifesto as 'dhakosala patra' (a document of deceit). He said the Congress supports leaders who are in favour of having a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir. "They want to pull out the Army from Jammu and Kashmir. They want to scrap privileges in the Valley guaranteed by the AFSPA," Modi said. The PM attacked the Congress over dynasty politics. "The Congress is a dishonest party at all levels. It is only honest in propagating dynasty rule and corruption. The BJP works in a mission mode for overall development of the country. The Congress works for welfare of new generation of dynasts," he said. Referring to the IAF strike at Balakot, the PM said Pakistan was not able to either express its pain or hide it after India's retaliation following the Pulwama terror attack. He appealed to people to vote for the BJP, stating their one vote will help in wiping out terrorism from the country. "My opponents are calling me worthless. Who among them can finish off terrorism or enter their den?" he said, apparently referring to the Balakot air strike. "Who is the one who can do it," he asked, and the crowd chanted "Modi, Modi". "Your vote can strengthen the chowkidar and can eliminate terrorism," he said, seeking support for the BJP in the Lok Sabha election in Madhya Pradesh. Taking a swipe at leaders of rival parties for "harbouring prime ministerial ambitions", Modi said none of them had the capacity to even become the leader of opposition. He said voters have to choose between the 55-year rule of one family and 55-month rule of a "chaiwala". Madhya Pradesh has a total of 29 Lok Sabha seats. While six of them went to the polls in the first phase on April 29, the remaining 23 constituencies will vote on May 6, 12 and 19. PTI MAS LAL ADU MR RSY ABH ABH ABH

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