As the campaign for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections comes to an end on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shifted gears with his speeches in Dhandhuka, Dahod and Netrang and diverted the election rhetoric from development in the state to Ayodhya Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid issue and Triple Talaq. He slammed senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal over plea in the Supreme Court to defer hearing in the Ayodhya case till after the 2019 parliamentary elections. The Prime Minister said that he has “no problems with Kapil Sibal representing Muslims,” but questioned his plea to postpone hearing till 2019, asking, “Why does he have to link Ram Mandir with elections. Is this thinking proper?” Speaking on the Triple Talaq issue, PM Modi cleared his stand saying, “elections come later humanity comes first”. The row comes four days before the first phase of assembly elections in Gujarat. Here is how PM slammed Congress on the issues:
1. “Now the Congress links the Ram Mandir with elections. They are least bothered about the nation.”
2. “The Sunni Waqf Board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Shri Kapil Sibal.”
3. “The Sunni Waqf Board has stated that yes, Kapil Sibal may be our lawyer but what he said in the court is absolutely wrong.”
4. “Everyone wants a time-bound solution except Congress and their leaders.”
5. ““When the triple talaq matter was in Supreme Court, the government had to put their affidavit, newspapers commented that Modi will remain silent because of UP polls. People told me not to speak on the matter else there will be losses in elections.”
6. “I will not remain silent on Triple Talaq. Everything is not about elections. This issue is for the rights of women…elections come later humanity comes first.”
It must be noted that Sunni Waqf Board’s Haji Mehboob has said that the body wants an early solution to the Ayodhya issue, distancing itself from Kapil Sibal’s statement in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Sibal had said that the final hearing in the Ayodhya case should be held after the General Elections in 2019.
The first phase of voting will take place on December 9 while the second phase is scheduled on December 14.