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Congress may not get even 50 seats: Modi in Mumbai

Source: PTI
April 26, 2019 23:35 IST
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In an apparent bid to offset BJP candidate Pragya Thakur's controversial statement against slain IPS officer Hemant Karkare, Modi heaped praises on Mumbai police.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena cheif Uddhav Thackeray at a rally in Mumbai. All photographs: Sahil Salvi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday claimed that the Congress won't get even 50 seats in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

He addressed a rally at Bandra Kurla Complex ground in Mumbai with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray ahead of April 29 polling for six seats in Mumbai and 11 seats elsewhere in Maharashtra.

While dad backs Deora, Anant attends Modi rally

Days after Mukesh Ambani endorsed Congress candidate from Mumbai South Milind Deora, the industrialist's son Anant was among the audience at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election rally in Mumbai on Friday.

Anant, who was seated in the front row among the audience at the poll rally in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex, told a Marathi news channel that he was there to 'listen to Modi and support the nation'.

Mukesh Ambani recently endorsed the candidature of Congress leader Milind Deora from the Mumbai South Lok Saba constituency, where polling is slated on April 29.

The backing of Ambani, Reliance Industries Limited chairman, to the Congress leader comes at a time when the party has been unrelenting in attack on his industrialist -- brother Anil Ambani over the Rafale deal.

In a video shared by Deora, former Union minister, on his Twitter page, Ambani says 'Milind is the man for South Mumbai', while Kotak eulogises the Mumbai Congress chief for 'truly representing the Mumbai connection'.

"This election is not to find an alternative but to be decisive, to empower the poor and end terrorism. All opinion polls and surveys are unanimous in their finding that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance will return to power. The only point of discussion is the number of seats," Modi said.

"They (Opposition) are wondering why first-time voters and those who were born at the end of the 20th century are supporting Modi. It is because Modi is giving expression to their (new generation's) aspirations.

"They are looking forward to 2047 when India will celebrate its centenary of independence, but some people are stuck in the 20th century. They can't understand what the youth want," he said.

"Confusion is the other name of the Congress. If 2014 saw the worst performance of the Congress, in 2019 the party is going to create another record of contesting the least number of seats," the prime minister said.

"The situation for Congress is such that it remains to be seen whether it crosses the 50 mark," he said.

IMAGE: PM Modi and other leaders being garlanded at the rally.

Congress governments neglected the police force and turned it into a 'punching bag', he said, adding that had it not been for the alertness of Mumbai Police, who paid a heavy price including martyrdom, the city would have paid a greater price due to terror activities.

Modi's praise for police comes after BJP candidate and Malegaon blast accused Pragya Thakur's controversial statement about slain Indian Police Service officer Hemant Karkare.

"The Congress' attitude has been to change chief ministers and home ministers following terror attacks; we have changed that culture," he said.

Seeking to woo the middle class and Mumbai's working classes, Modi said fisherfolk, dabbawallahs (tiffin carriers), and drivers of 'kali-pili' (black and yellow) taxies who ensure that Mumbai's speed never slackens need to be commended.

"It is because of the middle class and genuine tax-payers that this government has been able to work on infrastructure upgradation, Ayushman Bharat medical (insurance) scheme, and housing for all by 2022," he said.

The Congress manifesto has no mention of the middle class and some Congress leaders describe the middle class as selfish and greedy, the prime minister alleged.

"Telephone bills were once a huge part of expenses of the middle class. Due to efforts of our government, calling is almost free now and data is also among the cheapest in the world," Modi said.

The government works with 'Mumbai first' agenda, he said, mentioning bullet train project and promising that in the next few years, Mumbai will have 275 km of metro network.

IMAGE: The PM said had it not been for the alertness of Mumbai Police, who paid a heavy price including martyrdom, the city would have paid a greater price due to terror activities.

"During our rule, corruption has been dealt with severely, some people are in jail and some on bail. After the elections, they will be sent to jail. We have increased the number of tax payers, not the taxes. We have also increased the income tax (exemption) limit up to Rs 5 lakh. Today the middle class is saving more," the prime minister said.

Unlike in 2014, price rise was not an election issue this time, Modi pointed out, saying that 'inflation has been controlled at 4 per cent'.

"Development is high and inflation is low. This is a healthy condition," he added.

His government did a good job of financial management of the country while the Congress was concerned with its own finances and that of 'one family', Modi said.

Referring to the Mumbai terror attacks, he also said that 'terrorists now know that he (Modi) will find them even from hell and kill them if they attempt any such attack'.

"I am Shivaji's 'mavla' (soldier)," Modi said, invoking the Maratha warrior king. "Terrorists know that I will enter their homes and kill them," he added.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who addressed the rally earlier, said this was the third time he and Modi were campaigning together, while Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his ally, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar had not come together.

"Rahul Gandhi doesn't feel the need to come here and Pawar doesn't want to share dais with him," Thackeray said.

Sena was with the Modi because only he can deal firmly with Pakistan, Uddhav said, adding that the Sena-BJP alliance was based on 'a common maximum programme' of Ram temple, abolition of Article 370 and development.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis described the opposition as 'bears and wolves' who have taken along a 'parrot' to defeat 'the lion and the tiger'.

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