Escalating his attack on the Congress in poll-bound Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a dig at the opposition party over its upcoming organisational elections, which will apparently see the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as party chief.
Referring to Maharashtra Congress members Shehzad Poonawalla remarks that the organisation polls was being rigged to favour Rahul Gandhi, Modi said a party which had no internal democracy could not run the country. “Those who have no internal democracy can’t work for people. Youngster Shehzad, you have done a brave thing but this is sadly what has always happened in Congress,” the PM said.
The PM said the Congress had a history of rigging elections and went on to give the example of Sardar Patel. “Sardar Patel got more votes than Jawaharlal Nehru when the Congress had (then) met to decide who would be the prime minster of the country. But that election was rigged and Nehru won,” he alleged. This also happened with Morarji Desai, Modi claimed.
Addressing his ninth rally in the state, the PM said following the disclosure of Poonawalla, the Congress had gagged him and even removed him from the party’s social media groups. “They keep on muttering words like tolerance, tolerance, tolerance… But the party has brought out a diktat to silence this youth. The party has gagged him (Poonawalla) from all WhatsApp groups; he has been collectively boycotted by that party,” he said.
This was the PM’s first rally after the BJP’s landslide win in the Uttar Pradesh civic elections, where the saffron party bagged 14 out 16 mayoral seats. Bolstered by the decisive majority, Modi said his predictions about UP had come true and it would be the same for Gujarat. “A few days ago, I said there are three polls whose results are certain – UP local polls, Gujarat polls, where BJP will win, and the INC President election where one family will win. We saw what happened in UP,” Modi quipped.
At Bharuch, the PM drove home the point that Congress tried to divide communities and told the people to instead vote for “development”. “The biggest disservice to Gujarat by the Congress was to divide communities. Congress ensured people earlier friendly were divided,” the PM charged.
Modi said the Grand Old Party could go to any lengths in their quest for power. “Congress strategy is to divide people – divide people on lines of caste, community, urban-rural…all this just for power,” he said.
The BJP has received a lot of flak over its anti-minority image and attacks by cow vigilantes on Dalits and Muslims has only given the opposition a stick to beat the saffron party with. Trying to present a pro-minority image, the PM said, “Bharuch and Kutch are districts with significant Muslim populations. And, if you see the districts which developed rapidly under the BJP tenure in Gujarat, the names of these two districts figure prominently.”
Later in the day, Modi inaugurated the Shree Jogi Swami Holistic Hospital in Ahmedabad, which will cater to the three areas of yoga, ayurveda and allopathy. “Lack of healthcare facilities affects the poor adversely. We want to change that and that is why we made stents cheaper,” the PM said.
Modi then lauded the work of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying she helped so many people in need transcending borders. “Have you seen how active Sushma Swaraj ji is? Guided by humanitarian values, she is serving so many people in need – they can be in any part of the world but she helps them,” he said.
He then cited the efforts undertaken by his government to ensure the release of Father Tom and Father Prem from the clutches of the terrorists in Yemen and Afghanistan, respectively. “Those who are releasing fatwas against ‘nationalists’ should see the effort we undertook to get Father Tom back. Father Tom was guided by his love for Lord Christ and was working. We also got back Father Prem, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan,” he said.
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