Narendra Modi Thursday dubbed the decision by the Congress to replace its candidate in Vadodara, Narendra Ravat, an “injustice to Dalits” and said even though he was his (Modi’s)opponent, he would “fight for him”. Having given it a Dalit spin Thursday, Modi brought this up again at a rally in the Sasaram reserved constituency, an obviously effort at boosting the chances of former JD(U) legislator-turned-BJP candidate Chhedi Paswan who is locked in a tough contest against sitting MP and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
What may have come as a big disappointment to the BJP rank and file, however, was the near-absence of women at the rally, an indication perhaps of the local candidate’s failure to appeal to women voters. There were barely a dozen women, apart from the security staff, in what was otherwise an impressive gathering on a hot summer afternoon.
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi’s decision to hold US-style primaries to select Congress candidates for 16 seats, Modi said, “Shehzaade ke brainchild ka baalmrityu ho gaya (His idea was stillborn).” In Vadodara , despite having been Ravat elected in the primary, the Congress named Madhusudan Mistry to take on Modi on his home turf.
“The one who had won (the primaries) was the son of a Dalit. Did he not have the right to contest Lok Sabha elections?… It is an example of the Congress party’s attitude towards Dalits. It is not a question of whether he is a candidate or not; it is a question of injustice against a Dalit. Although he was going to fight against me, I will fight for him henceforth,” said Modi.
Attacking the Congress manifesto, he said, “before the last elections, the Congress promised to check price rise within 100 days. It did not. Now … they are saying again they will check price rise.”
He also attacked Meira Kumar for not initiating any development work in her constituency.