Hours after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at Narendra Modi again, the BJP Sunday launched its sharpest attack against her husband, releasing a strongly worded booklet and video targeting Robert Vadra.
Titled ‘Damaad Shri’, the nearly 8-minute video accuses the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government in Haryana and the previous Ashok Gehlot-led regime in Rajasthan of helping Vadra grab land across the two states in violation of rules.
The video shows a snazzily dressed Vadra riding a fancy bike and working out, contrasting it with poverty-struck farmers whose land had been taken by him. The video accuses Sonia and Rahul Gandhi of facilitating the illegal land deals for Vadra. The six-page booklet, also titled ‘Damaad Shri’, talks about his various land deals.
“There was gross violation of laws relating to land and environment. Robert Vadra after Haryana went straight to Rajasthan. The previous Congress government of Rajasthan helped him by violating laws,” BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said releasing the booklet attacking Vadra.
Priyanka reacted to the release of the booklet and video immediately, comparing the BJP to “panicky rats” and saying she wouldn’t be scared. Speaking in Mahrajganj area of Rae Bareli, she said that she knew the BJP would resort to lies before polls. “Yeh baukhlaye hue choohon ki tarah bhag rahe hain… Jitna karna hai kar lein. Main kisi se nahi darti. Main inki vinashak, nakaratmak aur sharmnak rajniti pe bolti rahungi. Aur karein, chup nahin rahungi, bolti rahungi (They are running around like panicky mice… They can do as much as they want. I am not scared of anyone. I will keep on speaking about their destructive, negative and shameful politics. Let them do more. I will not sit quiet, I will continue to speak).”
With polling in Rae Bareli just two days away, Priyanka earlier fired the first salvo of the day on Sunday. “Yeh Bharat desh hai jise chalane ke liye chhappan inch ka seena nahin, dariyadil chahiye. Satta ka kroor bal nahi, naitik shakti chahiye (This is India. To run this country, what is needed is not a 56-inch chest but a big heart. Not the cruel might of power but moral authority). Instead of hollow and superficial showcase of capabilities, this country requires internal determination, where one is ready to die to save its culture,” she said in Rajamau village of Rae Bareli.
Modi is fond of bringing up his presumably 56-inch chest in speeches. In reaction to Priyanka’s comment, the BJP said: “The Congress talks about ‘big heart’. Whose ‘big heart’ helped Robert Vadra establish his empire?”
The party also claimed that its target was not personal or limited to a family but the larger issue of corruption. “So far no serious attempt has been made by the Congress to defend Vadra,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “I did not even ask questions of Priyanka Gandhi. My questions were aimed at Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and we wanted to know how a person by merely investing Rs 1 lakh can earn Rs 300 crore.” He added that he did not want to join issue with Priyanka on her language.
Meanwhile, replying to a question on Vadra during an interview to PTI, Modi said he did not believe in the politics of vendetta but law would take its own course if he assumed power. Asked about the recent attacks against him by Priyanka, he said it was only natural for a sister and daughter to defend her family. “I do not have any problems with that.”
On Sonia’s claim that Modi was promising to make India a paradise, the BJP prime ministerial candidate said he did not make any such claims and people did not expect that from him.
Earlier, Priyanka faced mild protests in Ichauli in Rae Bareli during her campaigning, from people carrying BJP flags and seeking to know why their MP Sonia hadn’t come. “We have seen enough of you, go back. We want answers from our MP, who is Sonia Gandhi. We want development, we want electricity, we want roads,” shouted some.
Later, at a public meeting nearby, Priyanka clarified that Sonia was campaigning in the rest of the country and had thus sent her to speak about “significant political issues affecting the country”.
The time had come to “save the country”, she said. “This country is of Mahatma Gandhi, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Adivasis and Dalits have sacrificed their lives. This country is yours, this country is mine because the blood that runs in our veins is mixed in this soil. Thus, it is your moral duty to save this country from communal forces.”