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Opposition parties' wish for 2024 polls will wash away like Bihar bridge: BJP on their Patna meeting

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Thursday took a swipe at opposition parties over their meeting in Bihar on June 23, saying they may be looking for support in each other but their wish will wash away in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls like the Rs 1,750-crore bridge which collapsed in the state recently.

Union Minister and party leader Smriti Irani also targeted the Congress over Rahul Gandhi's claim of running "mohabbat ki dukan" (shop of love) and asked if this "mohabbat" meant denouncing the Hindu way of life, killing of Sikhs, partnering with those who wish ill for India and seeking outside intervention to harm India's democracy.

"What kind of love is this which is not for the country but for your politics. It does not say anything when 'Kerala Story' is shown," she said at a press conference.

Does this love not extend to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she asked, lauding his spirit of "service", and added that she will be surprised if the Congress has any kind word for him. "It is incumbent upon the Congress to attack the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 'mohabbat' of the Congress doesn't extend to him," the Union minister for women and child development said.

Hitting back at Gandhi's charge that minorities were not being treated fairly by the government, she said the "Gandhi Khandan" calls itself "protector of minorities" but the expenditure on merit-cum-means scholarship was Rs 860 crore under the Congress-led UPA government while it is Rs 2,691 crore under the Modi government.

On another allocation under the minority affairs ministry, a portfolio she holds, she said it had risen to Rs 31,450 crore now from Rs 12,000 crore under the UPA. These statistics tell the truth about the Congress, Irani said.

With the ruling BJP often accusing the Congress of seeking outside intervention to attack the Modi government, Irani said such activities of the opposition party leadership will increase as the 2024 national polls approach. It is determined to strike a blow to the country's democratic process in its lust for power, she said.

Asked about the opposition's meeting in Patna on June 23 in its efforts to forge unity, she hit back, "They are looking for support in each other as they are unable to stand on their own feet. They are coming together at a place where a Rs 1,750-crore structure washed away. Their wishes will wash away in a similar way in 2024." The bridge collapse has drawn a lot of flak and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry.

Questioning the Congress' claim about crumbling relations between the Centre and states, she said two chief ministers of the party had recently attended a NITI Aayog meeting in which Modi also participated.

To a question about the opposition party's attack on her, Irani said mockingly that the Sun will rise in the south if it stops targeting her.

Highlighting the successes of the women and child development ministry in the last nine years of the Modi government, Irani said a nutrition campaign involving 18 ministries was launched for the first time ever and measuring devices were made available in every anganwadi centre to constantly assess children's health.

Every anganwadi centre in the country was connected with smart phones and so far 11 lakh smart phones have been distributed among workers while over nine crore beneficiaries are availing benefits of the 'Poshan Tracker' scheme, she said.

As part of her ministry's endeavour to ensure police verification of those working at establishments catering to children, data of over 12 lakh alleged sexual offenders has been created, she said.

The government is dedicated to women empowerment, Irani said, noting that over 27 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts have been opened and 27.7 crore Mudra loans distributed among women so far.

The maternity leave has been extended to 26 weeks while Sukanya Samridhi bank accounts were opened for 3.18 crore girl child, she added.

Over 13,550 help desks for women have been opened in police stations across the country and over 1,023 fast tracks opened to ensure speedy justice for women victims of crimes, she said.


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