Battling on Rahul Gandhi’s behalf, Priyanka Gandhi took on Narendra Modi over his shehzada, namuna and other barbs at her brother on Tuesday, saying the Bharatiya Janata Party leader is aspiring to be prime minister but indulging in childish behaviour and that he should maintain decorum.
Campaigning for Rahul, she said BJP leaders used to make fun of her father Rajiv Gandhi when he introduced computers in the country and they are now ‘mocking’ her brother. “They call him (Rahul) namuna (specimen). Sometimes, they compare him to a stand up comedian and sometimes they call him shehzada. I think you (Modi) aspire to be a prime minister, then why do you indulge in such childish behaviour? He (Modi) should maintain dignity,” she said at an election meeting at Deeh in Salon assembly area.
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Priyanka continued with her criticism of the opposition party for its destructive policies which, she said, pitted one brother against another. Exhorting people to vote for Congress, she said a message should be sent from her brother’s constituency about the kind of politics that should be practised in India. “Their (BJP) politics is destructive.... Don’t vote for yourself or Amethi. A message should go from here about the kind of politics needed in the country. There should be clean politics,” she said.
BJP candidate Smriti Irani and Aam Aadmi Party’s Kumar Vishwas also drew Priyanka’s wrath as she accused Irani of holding meetings in dark rooms to tell people about lack of electricity and development in the constituency. “There are different governments in the state and the Centre. Sometimes, it causes inconvenience. Giving power is the state government’s job.... When the Uttar Pradesh government diverted power supply here, their (BJP) leaders agitated in Lucknow. Now its candidate is doing drama here,” she said.
While listing out Rahul’s developmental works, she also added that the AAP neither had power at the Centre nor in the state and it can do no developmental work.
She further went on to say that half of the programmes given in BJP’s manifesto are that of Congress. “BJP copied Congress’ manifesto. When their leaders come before you ask them that whether they have any plan for development. If the people are aware then the politicians have to become accountable. Vote is your power, understand it. If you would have not given the power, then nobody would have dared to stand before you like me,” she said.
Attacking Modi without taking his name, Priyanka said, “You are wishing to be PM but what plans do you have for women empowerment, development and employment.” She added that the sacrifices by the Congress have saved the nation. “Our culture has lasted from centuries and people from all the religions live here. Beware of such forces which try to divide the society. Congress is needed to save the nation.”
In an attempt to strike an emotional chord, she recalled the years when her father Rajiv Gandhi was the Member of Parliament from the constituency. “My father used to be your MP. All the elderly people present here must know that how good a person Rajivji was. He got development of Amethi done through visionary thinking... He thought about how to connect it with the world.”
“My brother is a visionary like Rajivji,” she said, adding “Rahul is campaigning through out the country and he has sent me here to convey his wishes.”
Referring to women associated with Rajiv Gandhi Women Development Project, she said, “Sisters associated with the project are present here. I got the scheme started in the year 2002. When Rahulji came here, he asked why it was limited to 8-10 villages; it should be implemented in the entire area. Today, 12 lakh women are associated with the scheme and have become self reliant. This development was done by Rahulji.”
Priyanka said that it was during Rahul’s tenure that milk revolution took place in Amethi. “Rahulji got 30 chilling plants set up. Today, milk from Amethi is supplied all over the country. To connect Amethi with other parts of the country, he got seven national highways constructed. This would be the first district with so many national highways,” she said.
She added Rahul got technical institutes opened in Amethi. There is a Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalaya in every block and three model schools. “Today, 20 new trains run from Amethi which reach different corners of the country. A food park is going to open in Jagdishpur, which will benefit the farmers most.”