Updated: April 1, 2021 8:52:30 pm
Gearing up for the next phase of polling in the ongoing Assembly elections in four states, top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah led poll rallies on Thursday.
The second phase of polling is being held in Assam and West Bengal on Thursday. The next phase would see two southern states — Tamil Nadu and Kerala — along with Puducherry going to polls on April 6. West Bengal and Assam will also vote in the third phase of polling on April 6.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted multiple poll rallies in West Bengal and Assam. Addressing a rally in Assam’s Kokrajhar area, PM Modi accused the previous Congress governments in the state of letting violence go unchecked in the Bodo-dominated areas.
“In the long years of its rule, the Congress threw Bodoland into bomb, gun and blockade culture. The NDA gifted Bodoland peace and respect,” he said.
Drawing an analogy with football, the PM said the people of Assam have shown “red card” to the Congress-led Mahajot alliance in the state.
“Football is very popular among youth here. If I have to speak in their language, I would say that the people have yet again shown a Red Card to Congress and its Mahajot. People of Assam trust NDA for development, peace, security of the state,” he said.
Continuing his party’s tirade against Congress’ ally in the state, AIUDF, PM Modi said the grand old party has surrendered before “tala-chabhi wale”. Padlock and key are the election symbol of the AIUDF.
Mamata didi has problem with slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, she also had a problem with immersion of Durga idols, Bengal knows about these. Now didi has problem with ’tilak’ & saffron clothes. Didi’s people are now calling people with ‘chotis’ as ‘rakshas’: PM Modi in Jayanagar pic.twitter.com/iUtXJsqqFg
— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2021
Modi, and other central leaders, have repeatedly targeted Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF for allegedly encouraging illegal immigration from Bangladesh, a hugely contentious and divisive issue in the northeastern state.
“The Congress and its alliance will be punished for it. We will never allow them to loot the hard-earned peace,” the PM asserted.
“The NDA government is committed to assisting all those who have left the guns and returned. To those who have not returned, I also urge you to join this mission of peace and development,” he added.
Addressing multiple poll rallies in Bengal later in the day, the PM fell back on the Hindutva pitch, calling out TMC leaders for labeling those wearing saffron, sporting tilak and choti as “rakshas”.
“Earlier, Mamata Didi had issues with chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, over immersion of Durga idols. Now TMC has problems with people wearing saffron, sporting tilak and choti (tuft of hair), they are calling them ‘rakshas’ (demons),” Modi told an election rally in Joynagar.
This was in reference to the recent public declaration by Mamata of her “gotra” (clan), an unusual thing for the Bengal leader to do, during the campaigning for the Nandigram seat. The revelation had prompted Union minister Giriraj Singh, who sports a choti, to ask,” Do you consider Rohingyas and other infiltrators as ‘Shandilya’ (Banerjee’s gotra) and offer them the red carpet.”
Singh’s comment invited a sharp retort from TMC MP Mohua Moitra, who had tweeted, “Giriraj says Mamata’s from Rohingya clan. Proud of it. Far better than being from the chotiwala rakshasa clan.”
Addressing another poll rally in Uluberia, PM Modi took potshots at Mamata and asked whether she is contemplating fighting from another constituency. “Didi, is there any truth in the rumour that you are going to file nomination from another constituency? First, you went there (Nandigram), and the people gave you an answer. If you go somewhere else, the people of Bengal are ready,” PM Modi said while addressing a rally in Uluberia, which will vote in the third phase on April 6.
Amit Shah campaigns in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry
Meanwhile, Amit Shah hit out at the DMK leader A Raja for his alleged vulgar remarks against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami’s mother, saying it showed the party had no regard for women.
Addressing an election rally Tamil Nadu’s Thirukoyilur, Shah said, “I saw the statement by DMK leader A Raja. The kind of statement he made against a deceased woman. I think they (DMK) have no regard for women and want to win this election by hook or crook.”
“In the past, DMK made such bad remarks against (the late Chief Minister) Jayalalithaa ji. I appeal to the mothers and sisters of Tamil Nadu– teach a lesson to the anti-women DMK in the polls,” he added.
Shah urged the “mothers and sisters” of Tamil Nadu to teach a “lesson” to the DMK in the April 6 Assembly polls.
Raja has apologised to Palaniswami for his remarks, saying that his remarks were not intended to be personal and his speech was “misunderstood and manipulated”. Despite this, the Election Commission reprimanded Raja and barred him from campaigning for 48 hours.
Shah also accused the DMK-Congress alliance of corruption and dynasty politics, claiming the elections in the state are a choice between the path of development walked by the BJP and corruption and dynasty politics of UPA.
Earlier, Shah held a roadshow in Puducherry and visited Sreemath Guru Sithanandha Swamigal Devasthanam to seek blessings.
Congress questions timing of Dadasaheb Phalke Award to Rajinikanth
The Congress has questioned the timing of awarding the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award to Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, saying the government should not do anything that unnecessarily drags celebrities in political controversies.
Rajinikanth will be honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar
Congress leader Rajeev Shukla said the government should not try to take political advantage out of everything and be wary of such actions. “This award should have been given to him long back, why is it being given this year,” PTI quoted him as saying.
“The government should not do anything which unnecessarily drags our celebrities in political controversies. Rajinikanth is a respected film personality. The BJP and the government should be wary of this and it should not try to take political advantage out of everything,” he added.
PM Modi ‘helping’ corporates instead of empowering poor: Rahul Gandhi in Kerala
Campaigning for Congress candidates contesting in the April 6 polls from assembly seats falling in Wayanad, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘helping’ the big corporates instead of empowering the millions of poor in the country.
Addressing an election meeting in Kalpetta, the former Congress president claimed that his party has a solution to solve the problem of economic crisis.
“To start Kerala’s economy, we are proposing an idea called NYAY. It’ll not only help poor people, but it will also start Kerala’s economy and start production of jobs.
NYAY is Rs 6000 a month into all of Kerala’s poorest people’s bank accounts”, he said.
The Wayanad MP said his party believes that “if you want to start an economy you have to put money into poor people’s hands, into the common man’s hands into millions and millions of people’s hands”.
“If you want to start an economy, you want to create jobs, the first thing you have to do is inject money into the economy”, he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.