Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the 'Modi factor' was writ large across the country during the first phase of elections and multi-cornered contests in several states favoured the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Polling was held in 91 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states and two Union Territories on Thursday, marking the beginning of the seven-phased general elections.
Observing that verbal battles between the Left, Trinamool Congress and the Congress are becoming visible increasingly, Jaitley said, "On the leadership issue, the situation looks gloomier than what I had thought.
'The BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) leader Mayawati, the Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee leave no stone unturned in running down the Congress President."
'There is no leader, no Gathbandhan, no Common Minimum Programme and no real issue. Not surprisingly there are not many takers for a 'failed campaign'. It is 'Rent a Cause' Campaign,' Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
The Opposition is in disarray in many states, with alliances having not worked out, he said, adding that multi-cornered contests obviously favour the Bharatiya Janata Party.
'To oust a popular Government, an extremely popular Prime Minister, you need some real issues, not fictional issues. The Opposition wasted the past two years in a run-up to the polls 'manufacturing issues' which didn't exist,' Jaitley said in the post titled 'India's Opposition is on a 'Rent a Cause' Campaign'.
Stating that the Opposition comes up with a new cause on a daily basis, Jaitley said one day the Pulwama terror attack was questioned as self-engineered, while the next day Balakot strike was questioned as a non-existent operation.
'One day BJP is accused of whipping up war hysteria, the other day it is dubbed as pro Pakistan.
'One day the focus would be on the BJP candidate's educational qualification, fully forgetting that a public audit of Rahul Gandhi's academic credentials may leave a lot to be answered. After all, he got an M.Phil without a Masters degree!' Jaitley said.
The minister said there is no running thread in the Opposition's campaign which connects what is being said today or what has been said over the last several months.
The minister said the Opposition's false campaign on Rafale did not carry much weight.
Loan waiver to industrialists was a lie, the EVM as an instrument of rigging was a bigger lie, he asserted.
'The First Phase of voting is over. The 'Modi' factor was writ large across the country. (BJP President) Amit Shah's challenge to the BJP workers to prepare for a 50 per cent voting target in the BJP stronghold states even where there are opposition alliances seems coming through,' Jaitley said.