Awards being returned at Cong behest: Venkaiah

Awards being returned at Cong behest: Venkaiah

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday hit out at those returning their awards citing growing intolerance in the country, saying they were doing so at the behest of the Congress.

Speaking at a function organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by the BJP in Bengaluru, Naidu said the move by the “so-called intellectuals” was damaging the image of the country.

“These people cannot face Prime Minister Narendra Modi, so they are trying their best to tarnish the image of the Union government. It is a systematic, orchestrated, malicious campaign by our political opponent,” Naidu said.

In the past few days, writers, scientists and historians have been returning government awards to protest against growing intolerance in the country. They have been pointing at the killings of writer M M Kalburgi and Narendra Dabholkar and also the lynching of a 50-year-old man in Dadri for storing beef at his house, as evidence of intolerance in the country.

“Why did not these people raise the voice when Emergency was imposed in the country, when Sikhs were massacred in hundreds in New Delhi. Why did they not protest against the 2G scam, coal scam and the Commonwealth Games scam?” Naidu sought to know.

Naidu blamed the “intellectuals” for feeding the people the views of the Congress for decades. “Now that second views are coming out, they are becoming intolerant.” He accused the Congress of indulging in vote-bank politics by creating a divide between the majority and the minority. “You follow pseudo-secularism appeasement policy and accuse us for being communal,” Naidu said.

He said the murder of Prof Kalburgi and Prashant Poojary were wrong and should be condemned. Poojary was hacked to death in Moodbidri in Dakshina Kannada for leading a campaign to close a slaughterhouse.

“But why are they only speaking about Kalburgi and are silent on Poojary?” Naidu asked.
Earlier, Naidu said had Vallabhbhai Patel become the first prime minister of the country, then India’s destiny would have been different and it would have emerged as a strong, developed and stable nation.

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