Taking the battle to late Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s home turf of Latur on Wednesday, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi raked up the alleged murder of Youth Congress leader Kalpana Giri to target the Congress.
“Such incidents, where a woman’s modesty is outraged and she is killed, displays the decline in the moral character of the Congress leaders,” said Modi. “Several years ago a Congress leader killed his wife and burnt her body in a tandoor. From tandoor to Latur, it exposes the mindset of the Congress leaders,” he said, adding, “What right does Congress president Sonia Gandhi have to speak about women?”
The BJP played to the gallery, getting Kalpana Giri’s parents to hand over a memorandum about her alleged murder to Modi.
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Modi was campaigning for BJP candidate Sunil Gaikwad, who is contesting against the Congress’s Dattatreya Bansode. While Deshmukh’s son and Congress MLA, Amit, has inherited his political legacy, this will be a litmus test for him — it is the first Lok Sabha polls after Deshmukh’s death.
Modi also targeted NCP chief Sharad Pawar. “He is suddenly getting very fond of me and remembering me too often. Let me also remember him,” he said. Highlighting the plight of farmers in Latur, the hub of tur dal cultivation, he said the UPA government had failed to look after their welfare.
Addressing another rally in Sangli, known as the sugar belt of Maharashtra, Modi again hit out at Pawar. He said the Congress-NCP alliance was advocating “Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan” slogan, and was not bothered about the farmers’ suicides.
He also criticised “dynasty politics” — the Congress has ruled the belt since 1967.
The sitting MP is Pratik Patil, whose late grandfather was Chief Minister Vasantdada Patil. “Dynasty politics is a hurdle to development in the region and I see no development,” he said. The seat has remained with the Patil family for the last four terms.
The BJP has fielded Sanjay Patil, who was earlier with the NCP. With the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana joining the alliance, the BJP leadership is hoping to put up a tough fight.