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Meghalaya polls: Congress' Randeep Surjewala sharpens Rahul's corruption jibe at PM

The Congress on Thursday demanded PM Modi's explanation for allegedly unleashing "multiple engines of corruption" in the country.

Meghalaya polls: Congress' Randeep Surjewala sharpens Rahul's corruption jibe at PM
Pic courtesy: Twitter/@INCIndiaLive

Shillong: The Congress on Thursday demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's explanation for allegedly unleashing "multiple engines of corruption" in the country.

The party also sought Modi's response on the decision to undo the backward area region grant which, it said, stifled the growth of the hill states and north-east.

“The prime minister must answer on the multiple engines of corruption he has unleashed in the country,” Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters here.

“The prime minister must also answer as to why did he decide to undo the backward area region grant, which used to help states like Meghalaya and other states, where the districts are backward, get special central funding,” he added.

The Congress' fresh salvo on the prime minister followed a scathing attack by party president Rahul Gandhi yesterday, who had described Modi as an "instrument of corruption."

The 60-member Meghalaya Assembly will go to the polls on February 27. The BJP is making a determined bid to dislodge the Congress, which is ruling the north-eastern state for the last 10 years, from power.

Surjewala said, “The prime minister must also answer why did he undo the SC/ST sub-plans. A large number of people in the north-eastern states belong to the scheduled tribes and they were beneficiaries of the ST sub-plan.”

He added that the stifling of the special grant for Meghalaya, Nagaland and other north-eastern states had hurt them.

The Congress leader also alleged that there was a systematic prosecution of Christians during Modi's rule, adding that brazen attacks on and vandalising of churches had taken place over the last few years.

In 2014-2015 alone, Surjewala claimed that 11 churches were attacked and vandalised in and around Delhi by the Bajrang Dal and the Dharam Sena, both outfits claiming affiliation to BJP-RSS.

“No action was taken and no arrest made and yet, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh comes here (Meghalaya) and speaks about law-and-order,” he said.

The Congress leader said for the first time in the country's history, the singing of carols at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was stopped last year, despite the fact that it had nothing to do with religion.

He also alleged that December 25 was converted by the BJP from being celebrated as Christmas to "Good Governance Day" to give an adverse message to the Christian community, adding that the move was opposed even by the allies of the saffron party such as the Naga People's Front and the People's Party of Arunachal Pradesh.

Surjewala said no one had forgotten the gruesome incident in which Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death by Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh and others in 1999 in Odisha, when the BJP was in a coalition government in the state.

Stating that instead of development, division was being celebrated in the country, he added that this was the difference between the Congress and the BJP and its allies like the NPP.

“We celebrate development, brotherhood, cohesion, multi-ethnicity and diversity of customs, languages, food habits, colours of skin. That is what India is about and you cannot convert the country into a regimented, fascist regime, which they (BJP) are trying to do,” the Congress leader said.

Responding to a query, Surjewala claimed that the Congress government's performance in Meghalaya was the biggest evidence of delivery on the ground, despite the sinister campaign launched by the BJP and its "puppet", the NPP.

“The truth remains that the Congress government has rolled out a new agenda of development on the ground in the last five years. The agenda of development is for the people of the state to see,” he said.