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North-south divide created by opposition for ‘narrow’ political gains: Rajnath

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VISAKHAPATNAM, Feb 27: The BJP is not a north-centric party and the north-south binary has been created by the opposition parties for “narrow” political gains, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday, asserting that such efforts to discredit the party also put a question mark on national integrity.

In an address at an event, Singh said the BJP was the ruling party across various states in the country including in the southern state of Karnataka and the allegation that it is only a part of north India is “factually wrong”.

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“An allegation is often levelled against us that BJP is only a party of north India. You all must have heard this. They also make this allegation against us that we are only a party of the Hindi belt. We have formed a government with absolute majority twice in Assam. Assam is not a Hindi belt state,” he said.

The senior BJP leader said the party has been registering its effective presence in states like Rajasthan and Gujarat for about three-four decades and that it received maximum seats in western India in the last Lok Sabha elections.

“In Gujarat, we have a government for almost 30 years. If we talk about the states of southern India, we have had our government in Karnataka for a long time. Presently we are the second largest party in West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka. Our vote share is continuously increasing in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala,” Singh said.

“Therefore, the allegation that BJP is only a party of north Indians is factually completely wrong. For narrow political gains and immediate electoral gains, these people, in the name of discrediting BJP, also put a question mark on the national integrity of India,” he said.

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“By showing prosperity figures of south India, our opposition colleagues many times try to show animosity between north Indians and south Indians,” Singh said.

He noted that there are “some different structural issues in north India and south India.”, adding “our effort should be that we can do something good, something big by combining both.”

“Our effort should be to connect both more, and not to break both in the name of language and prosperity,” he said.

The defence minister said today India’s credibility has increased on international platforms and the country is no longer a weak nation.

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“It has now become a powerful country in the world. Now if anyone dares to target India in a wrong way, India will not shy away from giving a befitting reply. Now heads of state of many countries also believe that the 21st century is going to belong to India,” he said.

“Our prime minister has so much goodwill abroad that eight former Indian sailors who were given death sentences in Qatar got pardoned from there and one of them is from Visakhapatnam,” he said.

Singh also rejected allegations that the BJP is a communal party.

“Some people accuse BJP of being a communal party whereas BJP is the largest secular party in the world. Today five Arab countries have given Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji the highest honour,” he said.

Singh alleged that the Congress is the “mother’ of corruption”, “mother of appeasement” and “mother of dynasticism”.

He said that the BJP has ended the crisis of credibility in the politics of this country.

“We do what we say. We have promised to abolish Article 370 and we did it. We promised to end the evil practice of triple talaq. We have done that. We talked about the Uniform Civil Code. Today the BJP government in Uttarakhand has implemented it,” he said.

Singh also spoke about the difference between BJP-ruled governments and those by other parties.

“The difference lies between short termism and long termism. BJP gives priority to long termism and long term gain,” he said.

The defence minister also listed various measures rolled out by the Modi government to bolster India’s economic progress.

“We introduced the GST. In the beginning people faced some problems but today the country has benefited from GST. Today our prime minister is building next generation infrastructure. It is not just to win elections but to strengthen the country in the long term,” he said.

“Today the NPA (non-performing assets) in Indian banks has reduced considerably. Credit offtake has increased. Today India has moved from the category of ‘fragile five’ to the category of ‘fabulous five’,” he said. (PTI)

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