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Congress Too Timid to Mention Dalai Lama, Claims PM Modi in Himachal

Revealing that he often talks to the Tibetan spiritual leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that the Congress party was so "timid" that it was afraid to even take the name of the Dalai Lama.

"I often talk to the Dalai Lama," he said while addressing a public meeting in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi parliamentary constituency organised in support of the BJP candidate Kangana Ranaut.

The actress-turned-politician has been pitted against Congress legislator Vikramaditya Singh, the scion of the erstwhile royal family and son of Virbhadra Singh.

"India is the country of Buddha and the Modi government has vigorously promoted this heritage," the PM mentioned while highlighting places of Buddhism in the state.

Interestingly, the Prime Minister's assertion comes just hours after state Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu had an audience with the 14th Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamshala. The Buddhist spiritual leader's office later told IANS that the Chief Minister had paid a "courtesy call on His Holiness".

The sprawling Mandi parliamentary constituency is one of the toughest and covers almost two-thirds of the state. The seat includes Kullu, Mandi and some areas of Chamba and Shimla districts, besides the tribal-dominated Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, which are dominated by the Buddhists.

Political observers say that PM Modi's reference to Buddhism in his speech comes in the wake of this week's protest against Kangana Ranaut in the Buddhist-dominated Kaza (Lahaul-Spiti) over her recent purported tweet featuring the Dalai Lama. She had later apologised for it, saying that the action wasn't meant to hurt anyone.

In his address, the Prime Minister said that it was the BJP which had ended the 500-year wait by building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

"This was possible only because of your one vote. It is the strength of your one vote that ended the wait of 500 years," he said.

Slamming the Congress leaders for their comments on Kangana Ranaut, PM Modi said that the party indulges in regressive policies and divisive politics.

"The Congress has not yet arrived in the 21st century. While people progress, Congress moves in the opposite direction. It's heading back to the 20th century. The Congress royal family is staunchly against daughters. The entire Congress is vehemently anti-women and its leaders said such vile things about Kangana. Do you accept this disrespect?" PM Modi asked the crowd.

He also gave an assurance of providing an open and safe environment to Himachal's women so that they can achieve bigger goals in life.

PM Modi called upon the people to reject the Congress party's "outdated ideology" and support the BJP in the upcoming elections.

"The Congress is ruining Himachal. It is necessary to stop it. I need your support to remove Himachal from the clutches of Congress," he said.

Besides Mandi, Himachal Pradesh's other three parliamentary constituencies - Shimla (reserved), Kangra and Hamirpur - will go to the polls on June 1.

*Except for the heading, this story has not been edited by The enewstime.in and has been published from IANS feed

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