In his most trenchant attack on Rahul Gandhi since being named the BJPs prime ministerial candidate,Narendra Modi Friday tore into the recent claims and comments by the Congress vice-president – questioning his sympathy for victims of communal riots,his empathy for the poor and his strategy of playing up the contribution of his family.
The Gujarat Chief Minister also directly sought votes for himself,the first time he was doing so at a public rally since being named the partys PM candidate last month.
Addressing a well-attended BJP rally, Modi launched into Rahul by taking a dig at his recent attempts to strike an emotional chord with voters by recounting the assassination of his father and grandmother.
I have not come here to wail before you. I have not come here either to shed tears or tell stories to get you to shed tears. I am here to take you into confidence,to wipe your tears, Modi told the audience in Bundelkhand,the poorest region of Uttar Pradesh.
The underdevelopment of the region,he said,was due to a lack of political will in the governments in Delhi and Lucknow.
The Congress reminds about goodies and packages before elections, Modi said referring to Rahuls promise of a package for Bundelkhand around the time of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. That package was not for your welfare but was crumbs to silence the then leaders from UP. It was shared between Delhi and Lucknow.
The time for packages is over. The time has come to send the SP-BSP-Congress packing, Modi said,dismissing Rahuls grandstanding in Bundelkhand for delivering on his promise of a package for the backward region.
Modi turned Rahuls attempt to strike an emotional chord by recounting the assassination of his grandmother Indira Gandhi over its head to rebuff the Congress vice-president for accusing the BJP of fanning communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 and in Muzaffarnagar last month.
Referring to the anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of Indira Gandhis assassination in 1984,Modi said Rahuls utterances are unpardonable because they have added insult to the injury of Sikhs.
I heard him speaking about the anger over the assassination of his grandmother. All Congressmen felt angry and isnt it true that they burnt thousands of Sikhs? I want to ask shehzada whether he felt the same anger over the killing of thousands of Sikhs, Modi said,referring to Rahul as a prince.
It is like adding insult to injury when elections for Delhi are around the corner. The language of shehzada cannot be pardoned by anyone who has any belief in humanity considering thousands of Sikhs were murdered, Modi said.
But the Gujarat Chief Minister did not say anything to counter Rahuls references to the communal riots in his home state.
As for Rahuls recent attempt to sympathise with the victims of communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh by speaking about the alienation of its Muslims,Modi said Rahuls claim that Pakistani spy agency ISI was approaching Muslim youth in the region was an insult to the community. He asked the Congress vice-president either to disclose the names of such youth or apologise.
Shehzadas claim that the ISI was in touch with Muslims is very serious. Shehzade,it is your government,how come ISI is spreading its wing there? Shehzada has levelled an allegation against the victims in relief camps that they are in touch with the ISI. Shehzada must make those names public before levelling allegations against the entire community. If there are no names,he should tender an apology, Modi said.
He also questioned why intelligence agencies were briefing Rahul.
Shehzada is only an MP. How come Indian intelligence agencies are sharing information with a person who is not sworn to secrecy? How come Indian intelligence agencies are sharing their report to provide inputs for election speeches? Modi asked.
The BJPs prime ministerial candidate also came down heavily on Rahul flaunting his commitment for the poor.
He is poking fun at poverty. The way former maharajas take their next generations to the ruins of their palaces to tell the stories of their achievement,Shehzada visits the poor to personally witness the achievement of his ancestors, Modi said. He visits the huts of the poor to see the achievements of his father,grandmother and great grandfather. These huts of the poor are testimony to the achievements of his ancestors.
Shehzada is now coining slogans about full roti entitlement. In the last 60 years,Congress has only managed to promise a full roti…they will take another 100 years to fulfill that promise. Are we going to wait that long? Modi asked,criticising Rahuls bid to showcase the food security programme.
Although his speech was largely focused on Rahul,Modi also reminded people that besides the arrogant Congress,people must also get rid of the Samajwadi Partys nepotism and the BSPs single leader for their own good.
Modi also reminded the audience about his humble origin and asked voters to give him 60 months to demonstrate his commitment.
The BJP has declared a person like me who used to sell tea in rail compartments and was born in a poor and backward family as its PM candidate, Modi said.
Dont think of me as PM,think of me as your chowkidaar in Delhi who will not let any Panja loot the treasury of this country. Give me just 60 months, Modi said.