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Narendra Modi invokes Lord Ram in Faizabad, Congress complains

Lucknow/New Delhi: BJP leader Narendra Modi Monday invoked the name of Lord Ram in a Lok Sabha election speech and urged the people to vote out the "corrupt and incompetent Congress government at the Centre".

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi addresses a Shiv Sena-BJP joint rally in Mumbai. File pic

In New Delhi, the Congress went to the Election Commission (EC), calling it a "misuse of religion to canvass".

Modi, speaking in Faizabad, the twin city of Ayodhya where the disputed Babri mosque-Ram temple site is, said even Mahatma Gandhi espoused the cause of "Ram Rajya".

"... When people asked Mahatma Gandhi how good governance should be, he would reply in one word, a welfare state should be like 'Ram Rajya'," Modi said.

"I am privileged to be in the land of Lord Ram..." the Gujarat chief minister said at the rally.

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate, however, did not mention the Ram temple issue in his speech.

Speaking against the backdrop of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya, Modi also urged the people not to vote for the mother-son government, referring to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi.

"This is the land of Lord Ram where people believed in 'pran jaye par vachan na jaye' (one may lose life but cannot break a promise). Can you pardon those who broke their promises?" Modi questioned.

Faizabad has been the seat of the Ram temple movement of the '90s that drummed up support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Congress went to the EC, complaining about the use of a religious symbol for canvassing, calling for derecognition of the BJP.

"The BJP and Narendra Modi have used the portrait of Lord Rama, which is strategically placed behind the podium from where the speech is being delivered by Narendra Modi. The headgear of Lord Rama fits on the head of Modi," the Congress said in its complaint.

"This is clear misuse of religion to canvass and seek vote on the basis of religion," the Congress said, adding the speech was broadcast live across the country.

"It is therefore, requested that FIR should be registered against all of them and the BJP may be derecognised under the symbol laws and any other action as may be," said the letter.

The BJP, meanwhile, took a dig at the Congress saying it keeps running to the EC with complaints.

"The Congress keeps running to the Election Commission with complaints... I would urge the Congress to make an expressway from its headquarters to the EC headquarters so they can complain any time," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said in the national capital.

In the staggered Lok Sabha polls, balloting in Faizabad will be held on May 7.

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