PM Modi symbolises 'asatyamev jayate' is diverting attention from real issues Congress

    New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) The Congress on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of spreading "lies" to divert attention from real issues in the Lok Sabha polls and challenged him to point out where in the party's manifesto is "redistribution of wealth" mentioned.
     Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that PM Modi "symbolises" 'asatyamev jayate'.
     Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here a day before the second phase of polling, Ramesh said the Congress will not play on the pitch prepared by the BJP but "will play on the pitch of issues of unemployment and price rise".
    "The prime minister wants us to play on the pitch that has been prepared by Jay Shah and Amit Shah. We will not play on that pitch, we will play on the pitch that has issues of unemployment, inflation, increasing economic inequalities," Ramesh said.
     The Congress leader said the Modi government did not get the mandatory 2021 census done and asserted that it is very important for the caste-based reservations provided by the Constitution.
     He alleged that Modi was deliberately avoiding the census since he wanted to abolish reservations in the country.
     During the UPA regime, a socio-economic caste census was done in 2011 to prepare the list of people living below poverty line, to make available the authentic data about the population of SCs, STs and backward classes and to find out their socio-economic and educational conditions, he pointed out.
     Ramesh said the Modi government did not publish the report, as he did not want the people of the country to know the details. He said the census was done following a detailed debate in Parliament.
     He also claimed that the trends from the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls show that in some states, the BJP has been "wiped out" and in others, its seats are going down as compared to the 2019 polls.
     "He (PM Modi) is trying to take the agenda in another direction. He first tried to give a communal colour to our manifesto and then talked about things that are not there in the 'Nyay Patra'. It is propaganda based on lies," Ramesh said.
     "He is giving publicity to our manifesto, though it is wrong publicity," he said.
     The Nyay Patra is based on the feedback from the people during the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, he said.
     "It is very clear that due to the policies of Prime Minister Modi, unemployment has increased, price rise is not being reined in and economic inequalities have gone up," he said.
     The Congress will fight the Lok Sabha polls on Nari Nyay, Yuva Nyay, Kisaan Nyay, Shramik Nyay and Hissedari Nyay, he asserted.
     "Ours is a positive agenda. We want to fight the polls on people's issues such as unemployment, price rise, and attack on Constitution and institutions," he said.
     Ramesh claimed that Modi has stopped raising the slogans of '400 paar' and 'Modi ki Guarantee', and is using a new language of polarisation.
     Ramesh said, "Polarisation has always been his weapon but he is using the language of polarisation more brazenly to divert attention."
     PM Modi is just seeking to defame Congress' Nyay Patra', Ramesh said and asserted that there is no mention of inheritance tax in the party's manifesto. It is not part of the party's agenda, he added.
     "Rajiv Gandhi had abolished it in 1985. However, BJP leaders such as Arun Jaitley and Jayant Sinha advocated in favour of inheritance tax. The one who says we will bring inheritance tax is wrong and in fact, it is the BJP's agenda," Ramesh said.
     On Modi's charge that the Congress will "redistribute" wealth if it comes to power, Ramesh said, "I challenge him to show us where wealth redistribution is mentioned in the manifesto. Where have we said we will take away mangalsutras, the person who did not respect mangalsutra himself is talking about it."
     Modi does not say that it is because of his intention and policies that there are 21 billionaires who have the wealth equivalent to 70 per cent of the population, Ramesh said, adding that the Congress believes in inclusive economic development.
     The Congress leader also asked Modi to clear his stand on the caste census issue.
     Ramesh's remarks came a day after the prime minister seized upon Congress leader Sam Pitroda's remarks on inheritance tax to step up the ruling BJP's attack on the issue of "wealth redistribution".
     After Pitroda's remarks on inheritance tax, the Congress distanced itself from the comments of the US-based president of its overseas wing and asserted that it has no plan to introduce such a tax.
     The Congress has been insisting that its manifesto does not talk about "redistribution" and that it favours a socio-economic caste census.
     Asked about the Congress' allegation that the government delayed census because it wants to end reservation, Ramesh said, "You could destabilise a democratically elected state government in Madhya Pradesh in March 2020. There was no Covid for that, but for carrying out a census, you are giving a Covid excuse," he said, hitting out at the government.
     Responding to another question on the Modi government preparing a blueprint for the first 100 days of a possible third term, Ramesh said the INDIA bloc government is not for a hundred days and will be for 5x365, which is about 1,800 days.
     "So, we don’t have a 100-day programme. We have an 1,800-day programme, this 100-day programme is all 'natak bazi (drama)," he said.
     The government is elected for five years and one has to have a programme for five years, Ramesh said.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)