Repeatedly referring to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as maa-bete, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday mocked the Congress’ alliance with the RJD in Bihar, claiming the former was ashamed of it.
Modi was addressing a rally in the afternoon at Chhapra town’s helipad to campaign for the BJP’s Saran candidate Rajiv Pratap Rudy. His main opponent is former chief minister Rabri Devi, wife of RJD chief Lalu Prasad who won four times from the constituency and is barred from contesting after being convicted in a fodder scam case last year.
“Maa-bete came campaigning to Bihar. Did you see Lalu sitting with them? Everything they do is behind the pardah. They tell him, ‘Let’s talk on the phone, else these camerawallahs will trouble our votes’,” Modi alleged during his 24-minute speech to a large crowd that chanted his name often.
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Modi, who had himself voted in Ahmedabad earlier in the day, claimed that the electors who had exercised their voting right till now have ensured two things: “The voters have ensured that maa-bete’s government is gone. Even if they empty all the jails in Hindustan and make them vote for them, maa-bete’s sarkar is gone.” He said the voters had paved the way for his government. “The second thing voters have done is that they have laid the foundation stone for a new government,” he said.
Rudy, a former Union Minister himself, found no mention in Modi’s speech. Modi, who moved the podium to the centre of the stage before he started, had to pause when an individual in the front row fainted. The crowd under the orange cloth tent was seen throwing out plastic chairs to make space in the shade. Women and young girls were pushed around and harassed by the crowd, they had to jump the bamboo barricades and take comfort in a space behind the podium meant for the press.
Modi seemed to be keen to answer to his detractors, especially in Delhi. When he noticed that a number of people had climbed on to the bamboo poles that held up the tent, Modi said, “You won’t fall down, right? If something happens, I will be held responsible. You go up the pole and people call me polariser.” He used English for both “pole” and “polariser” and the lukewarm response of the crowd to that attempted joke meant that they remained oblivious to it; but Modi had made a point. “Political pundits sit in air-conditioned rooms in Delhi and discuss vote swings. Let them come to Chhapra and see where the wind is blowing,” he said, and the crowd roared.
At one point, Modi asked those between 18 and 28 years to raise their hands and addressed them. “Like your plus two exams, the 18-28 phase of your life is the most crucial. The most important decisions of your life are taken during that phase…. In such case, imagine what will happen to your life if there is a bad government in power in Delhi for five years? Forget whether Modi will form a government; think of what will happen to you,” he said.
Modi also responded to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments that he has not noticed a Modi wave. “I have to ask the Prime Minister – In the last 10 years, did you see price rise, corruption, jawans’ heads cut off by Pakistan and farmers’ suicides?”