Members of the Gandhi family attacked Narendra Modi’s “ideology” and his “ambition” at separate rallies across the country on Wednesday, telling him not to “fool” the people and stressing the Congress aim of “empowerment” and “unity” by contrast.
“Modiji, Hindustan ko ullu banana band karo (Modiji, stop fooling the people of Hindustan),” Rahul Gandhi told an election meeting in Muslim-majority Kishanganj in Bihar. Voters of the state cannot be duped, Rahul said: “Voters of Bihar have the best (political) radar in the country.”
Speaking at election rallies in Raseta and Raahi in her mother Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli constituency, Priyanka Vadra mocked Modi’s allegedly authoritarian style of functioning.
“Listen to me, I will take every decision. Every capability is within me, and you should vote seeing this,” Priyanka said without naming the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. “You have to decide whether power should come to the people or whether it should be concentrated in the hands of one person. Whether the country needs communalism or unity,” she told her audience.
Priyanka portrayed the election as a battle of idelogies. “You are seeing opposite kinds of politics in this election. On one side is the ideology of the Congress, which believes in unity, that everybody should come together. On the other side is an ideology that is rooted in communalism. Whatever they (the BJP) may say, the truth is that their aim is to communalise and divide,” PTI quoted her as saying in Raahi village.
In Raseta, Priyanka spoke of the opposition between an “ideology that wants to empower common people”, and one in which “all powers are centred in one person’s hand, where one man’s decision will be applicable to all, and all government policies and programmes will be aimed at some selected people”.
In Kanyakumari, Sonia spoke in the same vein, describing Modi as the representative of an ideology that was a “dangerous combination of religious fanaticism, power and money”.
“One individual goes across the country and says that he will make India paradise. You should reject the ambition of that individual,” PTI quoted her as saying.
Rahul said Modi had been giving the impression that the election “was being conducted for Narendra Modiji”.
“For him, it is not an election of the poor and famers. He is only interested in becoming chowkidar of the country, and keeping the keys of the nation with himself. He suggests that he alone can set everything right. But if Gujarat or India have been standing firm for over 60 years, the strength has come from the farmers and labourers,” he said.
Rahul received periodic applause and shouts of “Beshaq”, “Behtar” and “Bahut achchha” from the mainly Muslim crowd. 72.5 per cent of voters in Kishanganj are Muslim. In his speech, Rahul continued to target Gujarat’s “toffee model”, in which he said land went to big industrialists at the price of a child’s toffee.
(With PTI inputs)