Narendra Modi’s attack on Rajiv Gandhi has irked many residents of Amethi who feel it was not right to attack the former prime minister in his “karmabhoomi” . Besides, it is not in our culture to crticise the deceased, they said.
At his rally in Amethi Monday, Modi had targeted the Gandhi family over its “politics of anger”. “He said when Rajiv Gandhi was a general secretary in Congress and his mother Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, Rajiv had scolded then Andhra Pradesh chief minister T Anjaiah, who was twice his age, in public, reducing the senior leader to tears. “Now who does politics of anger?” Modi had retorted to Congress’s jibes that Modi was indulging in politics of anger.
Priyanka Gandhi, in an immediate rebuttal, stated: “He has insulted my martyred father on Amethi’s soil. The people of Amethi will never forgive him for this. My booth level workers in Amethi will reply to his neech rajneeti (lowly politics) . There will be a reply from each and every booth of Amethi.”
Apparently, Priyanka is not alone. Residents of Amethi, especially those past their youth, are unhappy over Modi’s comments.
At a tea stall in Baramasi, Ram Kumar, aged over 60, says: “We remember Rajiv’s smiling face, not once did we see him in anger; what Modi said was wrong, he shouldn’t have said it.”
An onlooker said: “Rajiv Gandhi’s was a charming face, unlike Modi’s which always seems to be in anger in advertisements.”
In Gauriganj, at a small dhaba outside BJP’s Amethi office, Raja Ram Mishra (70) said: “Modi only knows self-praise and doesn’t know respect.”
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In Amethi town, Shri Ram Chaurasia, sitting at the counter of his small hotel, points to a collage of Gandhi family on the wall behind him: “There is not a single picture of him (Rajiv) in anger.”
In Jagdishpur, Mohammad Akram (45) said “it is not in our culture to make derogatory remarks about the deceased, it doesn’t matter what the person did in his lifetime”.
His friend, Hanif, adds: “Modi has breached an unwritten code.”
Significantly, Aam Aadmi Party’s Amethi candidate Kumar Vishwas, who is camping here for nearly four months now, focussed on Rahul Gandhi in his campaign and occasionally targeted Sonia and Priyanka but never Rajiv Gandhi.
Even AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, during his campaign in Amethi, said: “Rajivji did a lot of work for Amethi but it has been ignored by Rahul Gandhi in these ten years.”
Congress’s district president Yogendra Mishra said “with the statement, Modi has only damaged BJP’s already dim prospects”.
Rahul, at a recent maha-chaupal in Deeh, said he has learnt to be respectful from father Rajiv. “Ye log unke bare me gandi baatein karte they (people in opposition used to talk derogatorily about him), made fun of him, and displayed anger, but Rajivji never said a derogatory word about anyone and used to talk with love.I have learnt from him,” Rahul had said.
At the BJP office in Gauriganj, district president of Kisan Morcha Gulab Singh was on the defensive and said “it is not in our culture to attack the deceased”.
BJP’s Amethi Lok Sabha in-charge Govind Narain Shukla said “Modi was only making a point”.