Indian Express

Modi taunts Sonia, Rahul for not sharing stage with ‘convict Lalu’

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Modi with Ram Vilas Paswan in Hajipur, Wednesday. Modi with Ram Vilas Paswan in Hajipur, Wednesday.

Taking a swipe at Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi accused the “mother and son” of adopting double standards on fodder scam convict Lalu Prasad, saying the Congress leaders do not share dais with the RJD chief though the two parties have backroom deals.

Modi was addressing an election rally in Chhapra in Saran Lok Sabha seat for party candidate Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is pitted against Rabri Devi, wife of the RJD chief.

Lalu represented this seat four times, but he did not contest this time due to his conviction in a fodder scam case.

Congress, he alleged, helped Lalu walk out of jail and indulged in all sorts of backroom deals with him, but did not acknowledge the relation in public as they feared it would dent their votes outside.

“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 over the phone, else these camerawallahs (video journalists) will dent our votes’,” he alleged during his 24-minute speech to a large crowd.

Modi, who had himself voted in Ahmedabad earlier in the day, claimed that people have ensured defeat of the “maa-bete ki sarkar” in this election.

Rudy, a former Union Minister himself, however found no mention in Modi’s speech. Women and girls attending the rally faced torrid times as they were repeatedly pushed around and harassed by the crowd, and finally 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. “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.

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,” he said.

Modi also responded to PM Manmohan Singh’s comments that he has not noticed any “Modi wave”. “I have to ask the PM — ‘In the last 10 years, did you see price rise, corruption, jawans’ heads cut off continued…

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