Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday likened the imminent elevation of Rahul Gandhi to dynastic succession of Mughal rulers, and castigated the Congress for abandoning “public modesty” by deciding to make a person, who is out on bail in a graft case, its president.
The prime minister also targeted the Congress over corruption during its rule, and spoke about the clean governance under him in Gujarat and at the Centre.
“The Congress has abandoned all public modesty. The Congress has gone bankrupt, as it is going to make a person who is out on bail in corruption case its president,” Modi told a rally in Dharampur in Valsad district of election-bound Gujarat, apparently referring to the National Herald case.
Political parties, he said, will think 17 times before making those out on bail even a district unit chief.
Modi said with the Congress deciding to make such a leader its president gave a glimpse of what culture the party will follow and the kind of leadership will emerge there in future.
“Mani Shanker Aiyar, who was a minister in the Congress government said ‘did elections happen during Mughal rule? After Jahangir, Shahjahan came, was any election held? After Shahjahan it was understood that Aurangzeb would be the leader’.
“Does the Congress accept that it is a one family party? We don’t want this Aurangzebi Raaj (Aurangzeb’s rule)....For us, country comes first, 125 crore people of this country are our high-command,” Modi said.
Referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s resounding victory in the civic polls in Uttar Pradesh, Modi said, people in the Congress also think they would not been able to harm the BJP’s prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
So, the prime minister said, the thinking in the Congress is that if they could defeat the BJP in Gujarat, people of other states will listen to them.
“Will you allow that to happen? Will you stop the journey of development in Gujarat?” Modi asked the audience that responded with an emphatic ‘no’.
Modi also took potshots at Rahul Gandhi over his frequent visit to temples during the poll campaign.
“In earlier days, there used to be a competition to show how secular they are. If one says that I am secular, the other will say he is four kg more secular, the third will say he is six kg more secular and the fourth would claim he is 10 kg more secular.
“But what is the competition for before 2017 (Gujarat) polls? After 70 years where all they have to go to?” Modi asked the gathering that shouted in one voice “temples”.
He said the people of Gujarat were not fools and would see through the “deception” (of visiting temples for Hindu votes).
Asserting that he never faced any allegation of corruption in his long public life as chief minister and prime minister, Modi asked the audience,” Have you ever read in any newspaper that I have taken any thing? Have you read that Modi’s brother or any relative took money? Have you read that son-in-law of our family has taken any money?” he asked, to which the crowd responded in the negative.
On the other hand, he said, the Congress governments were mired in scandals.
The prime minister said even the Congress has accepted that the BJP is not an anti-Muslim party, as unlike in the past elections, it is not branding BJP leaders communal this time.
“If you remember 2002, 2007, 2012 (polls), all Congress leaders would brand us as communal and anti-Muslim. But before the 2017 polls, no leader is saying that BJP is communal. This means the Congress has also accepted that the abuse they were hurling against the BJP was false and was meant for vote bank politics,” he said.
Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses his supporters during an election campaign meeting ahead of Gujarat state assembly elections. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters