Modi Slams Sonia, Says Secularism for Congress Is Religion First

Article excerpt

New Delhi, April 3 -- Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the Congress of turning secularism into an election slogan and practising divisive politics.

Addressing a rally in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, Modi said, "For them (Congress), secularism is religion first. For us, secularism is India first."

The Gujarat chief minister launched a fresh attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had recently appealed to the minorities that "secular votes" must not split.

The saffron brigade had demanded the Election Commission's intervention, accusing Gandhi of polarising voters along communal lines.

The communalism versus secularism debate gained a fresh impetus following the controversy just ahead of the 2014 polls.

Earlier, in the run-up to the elections, Modi had come under attack for the 2002 Gujarat riots, in which nearly 950 Muslims were killed.

Even past allies such as Mayawati publicly slammed Modi, saying the country would face grave threat if he became the prime minister.

Faced with stinging attacks, Modi, whose party is confident of sweeping the summer elections, asserted in Ghaziabad that the BJP stood for an inclusive society and Gandhi was trying to mislead voters. …