Major differences in INDIA bloc; Cong allies opposing Rahul’s Wayanad nomination: Sitharaman

Ahmedabad, 20 Apr: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday claimed major differences on critical issues have cropped up in the INDIA bloc which no longer stands united, and said allies of Congress are against Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad seat in Kerala.
Sitharaman recalled Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s remarks on Gandhi’s candidature and spoke about the nomination of CPI leader D Raja’s wife in Wayanad. ”In the last 10-15 days and before the announcement of his (Gandhi’s) nomination, his alliance partners have been talking against him. Communist Party of India leader D Raja’s wife is contesting from Wayanad even though the party is a partner of the INDI alliance,” the Union minister told a press conference. The Congress’ alliance partners are against Rahul Gandhi’s nomination from Wayanad, she said while responding to a query on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that ”Congress’ sahabzade” will lose from Wayanad and will have to look for a safer seat after that.
Addressing a campaign rally at Nanded in Maharashtra earlier in the day, PM Modi also said the Congress has accepted its defeat even before the Lok Sabha poll results are out.
”Kerala Chief Minister P Vijayan has raised questions over Gandhi’s nomination from Wayanad. The chief minister has also said that Gandhi never raised the issue of Wayanad and Kerala in Parliament in the last five years,” Sitharaman said.
Targeting Gandhi, she said the Congress candidate in Wayanad is refusing to carry his party flag. ”We have to notice one thing after understanding that there are differences in the INDI alliance and Rahul Gandhi does not have much support. The Congress candidate does not want to take the party flag in his rallies because the Muslim League is opposing him, saying you may contest but the flag will be ours,” Sitharaman added. She claimed the Congress has given up the party flag to contest elections. ”When he (Rahul) can’t even save the (party) flag, can these people who swear on the Constitution be able to save the country?” Sitharaman asked.
The INDI alliance, of which Congress is a member, is not united which was seen in different states and also in the current elections, she said. ”That the Opposition is united as an INDI alliance is no longer a fact,” Sitharaman said when asked about Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy criticising DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin on his Sanatan Dharma remark.
She said major differences are cropped up in the INDI alliance, and that too on critical issues. ”Therefore, the alliance has not taken shape, they only show it. The only thing they talk about on a common platform is how to remove Modiji. They do not pay attention to how to take the country forward, what is their proposal for the country’s progress, and what they plan for a developed India in 2047,” Sitharaman said.
She claimed that INDI alliance leaders in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and elsewhere have cases against them.
Sitharaman also targeted All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi, saying his political statements are always indecent.
On the Opposition questioning the creditability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Sitharaman said it is no longer a topic worthy of discussion.
”Even the Election Commission has repeatedly proved that the EVM cannot be hacked. The Chief Election Commissioner has said it is a settled case…it has been repeatedly proven,” she said. Questioning the ”hypocrisy” of Congress on EVMs, Sitharaman said, ”When it (the poll result) favours Congress, (they say) I will accept EVMs, but when it (the poll outcome) goes in favour of the BJP, I say it is hacked….People are not going to take them seriously when they behave like this”. The Opposition is ”mortally scared” over the BJP coming back to power with a huge majority, she said when asked about the Opposition’s claim that the saffron party will not win more than 150 seats.
”So they have already started a two-fold campaign — creating this narrative that the BJP is not getting more than 150 seats so that people get confused, (but the fact is that) they (Opposition) will not probably cross the 100 mark. ”But look at their audacity. Anyway, people are not going to get confused because of this narrative,” Sitharaman added. PTI