In the last lap of electioneering in Amethi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held two maha-chaupals in his family pocket borough even as he upped his attacks on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over the latter’s statement he has been “chosen by the God” to rescue the country from the mess created by UPA.
“They (BJP) say no development has taken place in India in 60 years, that nation was sleeping, that Gujarat was sleeping. Aasman se ek vyakti gire aur unhone poore Gujarat ko jaga diya (A person fell from the sky and awakened all of Gujarat),” Rahul said while addressing one of the maha-chaupals.
“Modiji says that India’s public lacks power. He talks of giving power to the women and youth. Arey bhai kya samajh rakha hai aapne Hindustan ko? (What have you taken the country’s people for?) US President says he is scared of Indian youth and women…Inme itni shakti hai ki America kaanp raha hai (Indian youth is so powerful that even America is shivering),” Rahul said.
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In an apparent dig at the snoopgate controversy, Rahul said that instead of promising to empower women, Modi’s hoardings should read “I will respect women”.
Modi will be addressing a rally for party candidate Smriti Irani in Amethi Monday.
Rahul claimed that in Amethi alone, Congress has connected 13 lakh women to self-help groups Uttar Pradesh, including 1.5 lakh in Amethi.
“An opposition leader too said that we have done excellent work with women, but later retracted under pressure,” Rahul said, referring to remarks made by his cousin and BJP leader Varun Gandhi recently.
Rahul further alleged that Modi’s development model was limited to one or two industrialists, of which one was Adani. He said that while UPA government waived Rs 70,000 crore loan of the farmers, Modi gave land worth Rs 40,000 crore to Adani alone. Stating that UPA government spent hundreds of crores on welfare schemes, Rahul said, BJP wants to abolish them.
Addressing the maha-chaupals at Bhadar and Jagdishpur, Rahul also recounted his 30-year connection with Amethi while targeting the “outsiders who come very five years only to never return after losing.”
In the evening, Rahul was joined by sister Priyanka Gandhi for a road show from Jais. Like yesterday, Priyanka tried to remain in the background, letting her brother hog the spotlight. She remained seated next to the driver’s seat and only joined her brother atop the vehicle after he insisted.
The impressive road show brought Jais to a halt. Priyanka too egged on the electors, saying, “Vote nahi rasgulla hai, panja ekdum khullam khulla hai!” In between, Rahul acknowledged the enthusiastic supporters by hurling back garlands and often stepping out of the vehicle to talk to them. Seeing some people wearing Aam Aadmi Party’s caps, Rahul smiled and waved at them.
The brother-sister duo also offered chadar at Hazrat Mer Baba Dargah.
After Jais, the duo held a second roadshow at Salon. Late at night, Priyanka also held meetings with women self-help groups in Amethi.
Smriti Irani, who? Asks Priyanka
Priyanka Vadra, who through the major part of the road show did not respond to a volley of questions from the media, which followed her and Rahul Gandhi, replied to a poser on the challenge from BJP candidate in Amethi by asking, “Smriti Irani who?” When the reporter repeated, “Smriti Irani,” she said, “There is no competition in Amethi.” Reached for comments, Irani retorted, “You forget scams done by family members, why would you remember my name?” ENS