When asked about the decision of the Congress to field a Muslim candidate in Tonk, the Congress leader said elections should be fought over issues such as drinking water, roads and industries, and not religion.
Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot on Tuesday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the state and Centre for mixing religion with politics, saying in the past four-and-a-half years who one prays to and what one eats has become more important.
“I don’t think it’s the job of political parties or governments to make churches, gurdwaras and temples. They must keep politics and religion aside. But when all else fails — when GST has failed, demonetisation has failed, Stand-up India, Skill India, Make in India have fallen and there’s joblessness and anger among farmers — they have no answers to give. So what they do is start talking about temples, masjid and all,” Pilot said.
When asked about the decision of the Congress to field a Muslim candidate in Tonk, the Congress leader said elections should be fought over issues such as drinking water, roads and industries, and not religion. “The problem with the BJP is that they have nothing to show. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s government has failed miserably on all fronts. Therefore, the last resort for them is to talk about temple, mosque, caste and language. It’s irrelevant. People fight elections on issues, not religion,” he said.
Pilot also spoke about the Ram Mandir issue, which has turned into a political slugfest, saying he found it amusing that “10 days before elections, people start talking about religion”. He said the BJP has no answers to give on farmer suicides, mob lynchings, cow vigilantism, caste conflicts and rising number of rapes and on December 7, “people will vote on these issues and not the peripheral emotive topics that BJP wants to propagate”. He condemned the incidents of lynching in the state, saying if the Centre wanted, it could have put an end to the incidents in the beginning but “there’s a lack of conviction to contain hate crimes”
Rajasthan goes to elections next month and Pilot, who is confident of a victory for the Congress, believes the polls will set the landscape for 2019. However, it has not been smooth sailing for the grand old party, which witnessed infighting over ticket distribution. Pilot, too, was in a direct contest with his party’s veteran leader Ashok Gehlot over being projected as the chief ministerial face.
However, dismissing the reports, Pilot said the real infighting was between Raje and BJP chief Ami Shah. “For 75 days, the state BJP unit was without a president because both leaders wanted their candidate at the helm. After 75 days, there was a compromise candidate. The whole world knows that there are daggers drawn between the BJP’s central leadership in Delhi and Raje here,” he said.
He added that no matter how much propaganda the BJP indulges in, “they won’t be able to fool the people”. “Congress has worked really hard as a team and that’s why we have the strongest candidates,” Pilot said.