Targeting Narendra Modi on his home turf, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is a follower of the RSS’s “poisonous ideology”.
Referring to Modi’s oft-repeated remarks that he was a “chaiwallah” (tea seller), Rahul said, “I have heard this many times…The whole of India does some work or the other. Someone makes tea, someone drives a taxi and someone does farming. We should respect all. The chaiwallah should be respected, the farmer and labourer should be respected. But the one who befools people should not be respected.”
Kickstarting his party’s Lok Sabha campaign in Gujarat, Rahul devoted his 19-minute speech to attacking Modi, but did not name him. Criticising Modi’s attempts to claim Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s legacy, he said, “I will tell you what Patel has said about the RSS: RSS is a poisonous ideology which will destroy the soul of India. He (Modi) has been in the RSS all his life. He does not know what Patel and Gandhi said. He has not read it. And now he wants to erect statues.”
Rahul said it was the RSS ideology that killed Gandhi. “Sardar Patel devoted his entire life to the Congress… He (Modi) has not thought about all that… Whatever comes to his mind, whether it is true or a lie, (he) will utter,” he said. While he did not talk about the snooping controversy, Rahul, responding to calls from the crowd, said, “The entire country knows how much respect women get here.” Debunking Modi’s development claims, Rahul said, “If there is progress in Gujarat, it is because of the hard work of the people of Gujarat. One person has not done it.”