Slamming its adversaries for trying to create a divide on lines of secularism and communalism in the country, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday charged the Congress and its allies with suffering from "secularitis" disease.
"You know there is a disease called encephalitis which is very bad .....similarly there is another disease called secularitis from which the Congress and its allies are suffering in the manner they have been trying to create a divide on the lines of secularism and communalism in the country," the BJP national president Rajnath Singh told reporters.
"Our country must be saved from this disease (secularitis)," he said and urged all political parties to oppose it.
Noting that the Congress has been in the habit of practising political divide on communalism vs secularism every time when the elections are round the corner, the BJP national president urged the mainstream political parties to guard against falling into the traps of the Congress.
"We have further noted that the Congress attack the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at the time of elections and harps on 2002 riots as part of a deliberate strategy and conspiracy to malign Modi and BJP," Singh said and asked the Congress to refrain from pursuing such tactics for vote bank politics.
The Congress has been seen as consolidating the secular forces to prevent rise of communal forces, the senior BJP leader observed and described as a calculated political strategy of the Congress to divert public attention from failures of the UPA government on all fronts.
"The UPA government has also tried to mount attack on the Gujarat chief minister by holding himself responsible for encounters in Gujarat," Singh said referring to the ongoing CBI probe into the Ishrat Jahan encounter case as another example of diversionary tactics.
"Tell me, in which states encounters have not taken place, but no hue and cry has been made in encounter cases in different states," he said.
Similarly, as many as 13,900 riots have taken place in the country since Independence, including 1984 riots against the Sikhs following the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, Singh said.
"But no riots have been played out in the manner that the Gujarat riots have been and no other leader crucified as Modi has been," he said and defended his earlier exhortation to people to move on by forgetting the Gujarat riots.
The BJP national president, who was visiting Bihar for the first time since the JD(U) split from NDA last week, however, refrained from going all out to slam Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for parting ways with the BJP by blaming the rise of his Gujarat counterpart as a national player.
"All I would like to tell the Bihar chief minister is to guard against falling in trap of the Congress which wants to divide the polity on communal vs secular lines," Singh said and left scope for future alignment despite Kumar's categorical 'no' to doing any business with the saffron party.
He reminded the chief minister of his duty to strengthen the anti-Congress forces to carry forward the legacies of the socialist leaders like Jai Prakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia, recalling that though the disciples of these respected socialists failed to carry forward their ideology, the BJP has done so by emerging as an alternative to the Congress in national polity.
The BJP leader also sought to keep Kumar in good humour by saying that he would be happy if Bihar gets special status from the Centre -- Kumar's pet agenda.
With reporters asking a volley of questions as to when the BJP would announce Modi's elevation as the prime ministerial candidate following the JD-U's walk-out, he said that "we have no difficulties in taking decision on our PM candidate and whenever such decision is taken we will communicate to you (media)."
"However, we have fulfilled prediction of the Bihar chief minister who had said a decade ago that Modi's services are required by the country," the BJP leader said referring to the 2003 CD quoting him praising Modi profusely at a function in Kutch.
On whether the BJP will rake up the Ram temple construction at Ayodhya as a political issue in the run up to the next general elections, Singh said that the Ayodhya issue has been burning since 1984 and the Allahabad high court has already passed a judgement, but the same has been challenged in the apex court by various parties.
"The Ayodhya issue is sub-judice....let us await the verdict by the Supreme Court," he said.
Describing the Congress as communal to the core, Rajnath said, "The BJP is committed to secularism and equal treatment to all without any discrimination....we too would like the Muslims to vote for us by creating a sense of confidence in them and not out of fear as the Congress and other so-called\ secular parties have been doing."
The BJP leader refused to admit that the JD(U)'s split had weakened the NDA and said that his party would take the alliance partners to 13 from three.
The BJP national president also spoke at length on economic issues and charged the Congress-led UPA government with mismanaging the economy so much so that the key indices like the GDP growth and valuation of Re vs US Dollar have declined, while fiscal deficit and current account deficit has increased during the UPA rule.
"The rupee has nearly become a senior citizen," he said referring to the Indian currency's value falling to near 60 vs US dollar last week even as we had left a robust rupee at 40-45 vs a dollar about a decade ago," he added.
Singh, quoting the National Sample Survey data, said that the country was on the brink of an "unrest" due to growing unemployment rate as the UPA government has been able to create only 27 lakh jobs in nine years against 6.7 crores jobs created by the NDA government between 1998 and 2004.
The socio-economic disparity prevailing in the country has largely to do with mismanagement by the Congress-led government, he said and trashed the latter's claim of the Indian economy being in pink of health and key indices under control.
On the Food Security Bill, the BJP president said that his party favoured its passage with certain modifications to ensure that the proposed measure served the purpose of ensuring food to all.
"We support the passage of the bill with foolproof mechanism to deliver benefits to the intended people, including strengthening of the PDS on the lines of the one implemented by the Chhattisgarh government," he said.
On Uttarakhand tragedy, the BJP president described the calamity as "heart-rending and unfortunate" and said that the rescue and relief work should be carried out among the affected people on war footing.
Singh said that he has directed all BJP MPs and MLAs/MLCs to donate their one-month salary towards the Uttarakhand relief fund and urged the people of the country to contribute as per their free will to carry out rescue and relief operations, besides reconstruction of infrastructure in the hill state.
At the same time, the BJP leader questioned the role of the National Disaster Management Authority in preventing the calamity in Uttarakhand and urged the Centre to review functioning of the body which had drawn the ire of the CAG too for its inefficiency.
He demanded framing of a comprehensive policy to avert the natural disaster like the one that has rocked Uttarakhand and formation of a national council to ensure safety and security of the hill states and their people.
Steps are also required for protection of environment and ecology of the Himalayan range of mountains, he said.
The BJP leader called for expeditious implementation of inter-linking of rivers to address the flood and drought problems across the country and said that even our neighbouring country -- China -- has started inter-linking of rivers for long-term benefits.