In a fresh war of words, P Chidambaram on Thursday hit out at Narendra Modi, dubbing him a “compulsive liar” and an “encounter Chief Minister”.
Modi, who has been referring to Chidamabaram as “recounting minister” in his election rallies, also sharpened his attack on the Finance Minister, demanding a probe by Election Commission, alleging that wrist watches with photos of the Finance Minister were being distributed to voters.
In Chennai, Chidambaram said, “Mr Modi is a compulsive liar. There was no re-count in Sivaganga. He knows that. Yet he lies and continues to make this false statement, one of the many false statements made by him. If he insists on calling me Recounting Minister, I can call him Encounter Chief Minister,” he told reporters who sought his reaction on Modi repeatedly calling him “recounting minister”.
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The minister was obviously referring to the spate of alleged fake encounters that occurred in Gujarat under Modi rule.
Chidambaram won the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu by a margin of about 3,500 votes and the counting process was mired in controversy.
Addressing an election rally in Ramanathapuram, bordering Chidambaram’s native Sivaganga district, Modi accused the senior Congress leader of running away from elections.
After Chidambaram opted out of the April 24 Lok Sabha polls, his son Karti Chidambaram has been given the Sivaganga seat by Congress.
“In Tamil Nadu, there is a Congress leader–recounting Minister– he is so afraid that he ran away from elections,” Modi, who is on a two-day trip to Tamil Nadu to canvass for NDA candidates, said without taking Chidambaram’s name.
“Some people on this dais showed me a watch. It has the recounting minister’s photo and his symbol. I was told that these watches are being given to every household. EC should take it very seriously. There should be a probe against the recounting minister and Congress,” Modi said.
Continuing his tirade against Rahul Gandhi, whom he once again described as ‘Shehzada’, Modi questioned the Congress leader’s notion of poverty, saying he was “born with a golden spoon”.
He said BJP-led NDA in Tamil Nadu had emerged as an”able, reliable front” to DMK and AIADMK, which he alleged were keen only on settling personal scores.
With an eye on the large Muslim population in this coastal district, Modi said Congress Government’s 15-Point Programme that promises employment to Muslim youth among others has not achieved the desired result.
Congress was only trying to ‘hoodwink’ Muslims, he said, adding the Central government could achieve only 56 per cent of its goal between 2006-12 in this regard.
Heaping praise on former President Abdul Kalam, who was born in this town, Modi described him as a “great son of India” and lauded his contribution to space science.
Earier, addressing a rally in Erode, he took a dig at former Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and without naming her, said a woman Congress leader from the state was responsible for delaying many infrastructural projects in the country including in Tamil Nadu.