NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi, frontman for India’s ruling Congress party, warned Sunday on the eve of the world’s biggest election that the country faces religious turmoil if the opposition Hindu nationalist party wins power.
Gandhi said majority Hindus would be pitted against minority Muslims if hardliner Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clinched power, as widely predicted, during the marathon six-week ballot starting on Monday.
“Wherever these people (BJP) go they create fights. They’ll pit Hindus and Muslims against each other,” Gandhi told a rally in the town of Sirsa 250 km from New Delhi.
“We walk with everybody, be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians. We walk with people from all communities, castes, religions and regions and that is our politics,” said Gandhi, the 43-year-old scion of India’s famous political dynasty.
“We don’t do politics of anger and division,” Gandhi said, as he implored voters to back Congress, which looks set for a crushing defeat at the polls after a decade in power.
Voting will begin in the two remote northeastern states of Assam and Tripura, before spreading across the country of 814 million eligible voters in a staggered process. Results are due on May 16.
Modi, a popular but divisive leader tainted by deadly religious riots in 2002, is set to sweep to power on a promise of reviving the country’s battered economy and creating jobs.