Eyeing crucial Kurmi voters, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday invoked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for garnering their support and took on his baiter Union minister Beni Prasad Verma, who is the Congress’s candidate from Gonda.
Addressing an election rally here, Modi said, “Yahan per ek mantri hain, ek hi parivar ke bhakt hain. Din bhar aarti utartey hain. Mujhey gaali diye bina neend nahi aati hai. Pata nahi kaisey mantri ban gaye hain (There is a minister from here who is a follower of the Gandhi family and can’t sleep without criticising me. I don’t know how he became a minister).” Modi’s attack was aimed at Beni, who recently earned the EC ire for alleging that the Gujarat CM was infact a murderer.
Beni, who had won the 2009 elections with nearly 15,000 votes, is facing a tough battle this time with BJP vastly canvassing among Kurmis and other backward classes by invoking Vallabhbhai Patel, whom Kurmis consider as their icon, besides highlighting Modi’s OBC connect.
Targeting nearly one lakh Kurmi voters in Gonda parliamentary seat, he claimed: “We are doing a big work as I am getting the tallest statue of Sardar Patel made in Gujarat. If Patel had been the first PM of our country, several problems like Kashmir would not have developed.”
In veiled attack on the Nehru-Gandhi family, he also stated that one family did not accord adequate respect to Patel and did its best to wipe out his name.
Modi, in his 30-minute speech, did not attack the SP government and remained focused on Congress. He, however, appealed to the crowd: “Get rid of the trend of Behenji, baap-bete (Mulayam-Akhilesh) governments and karobaar (business) of Chacha-Bhatija in UP”.
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Sharpening his attack on the UPA regime, he said the “maa-bete (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) ki Sarkar” has looted the country. “More farmers had committed suicide than the number of soldiers who died at border. The Jai Jawan Jai Kisan slogan has been changed to Mar Jawan Mar Kisan”.
The Gujarat CM also chided Rahul for visiting the homes of poor and Dailts, which he dubbed as mere “tourism”. “Rahul is born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Like many of you who visit Mumbai and get pictures clicked for showing them to your friend, Rahul also wants to see poor, how they look.”
Modi claimed that since he was born in a poor family and aware of poverty. “I am a four-term CM of Gujarat… still my 90-year-old mother went to vote in a rented auto.”
In Gonda, BJP has fielded Kirtivardhan Singh who is the son of former minister Raja Anand Singh, who was sacked by Akhilesh Yadav. Kritivardhan had won Gonda seat twice in 1998 and 2004 as SP candidate. In 2009, he contested on a BSP ticket.