Known for his hardline Hindutva views that have often triggered controversies, Mr Singh has again sparked controversy after he made communal comment. He called for a ban on green flags, which he said “tend to create hatred in the society and gives one a feeling of being in Pakistan”.
Talking to media persons in Begusarai on Tuesday, Singh demanded that the Election Commission ban green flag, claiming it gave an impression of Muslim-related political or religious institutions. “These type of flags tend to create hatred in the society and gives one a feeling of being in Pakistan,” he said.
While the RJD and Congress were quick to hit back, NDA constituents dismissed his remarks as “personal”.
Mr Singh is locked in a triangular contest with RJD’s Tanveer Hasan and young CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar
The contest here has become one of the most talked about ones in this general election due to Mr Singh being seen as a face of the BJP’s unyielding Hindutva philosophy and Kumar, a former JNU student union leader, presenting himself as a fiery challenger to the saffron ideology. The seat goes to the poll on April 29.
He had won with a margin of over 1.4 lakh votes from Bihar’s Nawada Lok Sabha constituency in 2014, but has been shifted to Begusarai this time.
He had publicly expressed his anguish over the shift but was placated by the central leadership with party president Amit Shah himself reaching out to him.
Mr Singh said “supporters of separatism and terrorism” have assembled in the constituency — an apparent attack on Kumar, who has been accused by the BJP of backing student protesters in the JNU who had allegedly raised anti-Indian slogans. Kumar has rejected the allegations.
Rahul chose to contest from Wayanad because it is strategy to divide India on religious line: Claims Singh
Mr Singh claimed opposition parties are trying to polarise voters on communal lines, as he referred to Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s recent suggestion to Muslims at an election rally in Bihar to vote unitedly to oust Modi from power. The Election Commission on Monday banned Sidhu from campaigning for 72 hours.
Calling Sidhu a close associate of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Mr Singh claimed that Mr Gandhi chose to contest from Wayanad seat in Kerala as part of a “well-planned” strategy to divide India on religious lines as was the case during the pre-independence era leading to the creation of Pakistan.
He further said Sidhu has talked about “64 per cent” minorities in his speech in Katihar, while they are 98 per cent in Kashmir, over 70 per cent in Kishanganj and 15-18 per cent in Begusarai, but they are called minority everywhere.
In a swipe at the opposition party, Mr Singh said the Congress party in its next manifesto seek talk about redefining the minorities in the country.
Green Flags are reflective of Pakistan- Giriraj Singh
“Did you see the procession in Wayanad when Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers? It seemed he was going to contest from Rawalpindi in Pakistan. The flags seen there bore so much resemblance with Pakistan flags. They spread hate, not love,” Singh said while attacking Rahul Gandhi and demanded that the Election Commission should ban them.
Wayanad has a sizeable Muslim population and the Indian Union Muslim League, a Congress ally in Kerala, has a strong presence in the region. The IUML’s flag is of green colour.
“What does that flag show? Journalists like you ask if I think it is a Pakistani flag. It is not about this. The perception was, when those flags were seen, that this nomination is happening in Rawalpindi,” Mr Singh said.
When told that Muslims have been using green flags long before Pakistan came into being in 1947, Mr Singh shot back, saying, “That is why. To me this is reflective of Pakistan.”
Mr Gandhi is fighting election from Waynad in Kerala as well as from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Lok Sabha elections 2019 are being held in seven phases. The results of the Lok Sabha election 2019 will be announced on May 23. Voting in the first phase was conducted on April 11. The seven phases will cover a total of 543 constituencies.
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