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NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday alleged that Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan want riots to spread across India and that’s why they are openly ‘helping’ Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections.

“Pakistan and (prime minister) Imran Khan want riots to spread in India. That is why Pakistan is openly helping Modi to become the prime minister again. What Pakistan could not achieve in 70 years, their friend Modi has managed to pull off in five years — damaging India’s brotherhood,” he said on Twitter.

Mr Kejriwal was responding to a tweet by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which quoted their party president saying they “will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs”.

The reference was to the disputed implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. The AAP leader’s tweet also followed Prime Minister Khan’s comments suggesting that there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and “some kind of settlement in Kashmir” if the BJP wins the Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to a group of foreign journalists, Mr Khan had said that if the Congress leads the next government, it may be too scared to seek a settlement with Pakistan over Kashmir, fearing a backlash from the right.

“Perhaps if the BJP — a right-wing party — wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” he said.

Seizing on Khan’s remarks, the opposition parties, including the Congress and the CPI(M), said a vote for PM Modi is a vote for Pakistan.

The Congress on Wednesday said Pakistan has now “officially allied” with Mr Modi and a vote for him would mean a vote for Pakistan.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, however, said Mr Khan’s design and wish will never come true as people of the country will defeat Mr Modi in the seven-stage Lok Sabha election as they never allow forces that perpetuate and propagate hatred and division in the country.

“Pakistan has now officially allied with Shri Modi ji. Pakistan Prime Minister appears to say that a ‘Vote-for-Modi is a vote for Imran Khan’. It seems that Pakistan has now officially allied with Modi. Imran Khan seems to now wish for his friend Modi Ji’s success,” he told reporters.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel also took a jibe at Prime Minister Modi, saying “the true colours are out” and termed the statement from Mr Khan as “mahamilavat”, a phrase used by Modi to describe the opposition’s ‘mahagathbandhan’ — a grand alliance of all opposition parties to defeat him.

“Their true colours are out. This is called Mahamilavat,” Mr Patel said on Twitter, while tagging a picture of Mr Modi.

Mr Surjewala said the entire country has seen Mr Modi’s love for (former PM) Nawaz Sharif and ISI when he went “uninvited” to Pakistan and then “invited” ISI to India. The reference was to a visit by Pakistani officials to Pathankot to study how alleged terrorists had penetrated the security to get inside an airbase.

“It seems that the love affair with Imran Khan now continues. We want to say Imran Khan and Pakistan will never succeed nor will the firecrackers in Modi ji’s language burst in Pakistan, for Modi ji is going to lose the 2019 election,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2019