Targeting BJP’s ‘Phir ek baar Modi sarkar’ election slogan, Kharge, the Congress’s Leader in Parliament, said, “No other Prime Minister in India’s history has sought votes on his or her name. We live in a parliamentary democracy, not a dictatorship. Votes are sought on a party’s ideology.”
“(Adolf) Hitler was also elected through parliamentary democracy, and then converted it into dictatorship. Modi is the same. He came through the (BJP) organisation and was made the PM due to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) backing. He also became the CM (of Gujarat) even before he was elected an MLA, and was named as the country’s PM during his first term as MP. But he now says, this is Modi sarkar. The party doesn’t matter. People are understanding this,” he added.
Saying there was a strong undercurrent against Modi, Kharge added neither the BJP nor the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will win a majority this time.
“From the feedback of the first three rounds, I feel certain that the BJP won’t be able to form the government on its own. Even the NDA will not have enough numbers to cross the midway mark. The Congress, its allies, and other like-minded parties will get good numbers. We have the edge,” he said.
Asked about the spotlight MNS president Raj Thackeray was receiving over his “anti-Modi” campaign, Kharge, who is also the AICC’s state in-charge, said, “Our fight is against the BJP’s ideology. If anybody comes along and the secular forces are strengthened, we welcome it.”
He, however, refused to be drawn into a conversation on whether the Congress will be open to formally stitching a pact with the MNS chief for the Assembly polls.
The Congress leader also slammed the BJP for invoking the “armed forces and the Balakot air strikes for poll canvassing”.
He said, “He had earlier announced both inside Parliament and outside that he will submit a report card on his government’s performance when he goes back to people. Where is it? Why does he not talk about it? Why does he seek votes invoking the airstrike? It isn’t right to use the armed forces to seek votes.”
“The BJP made several promises in its 2014 election manifesto. It is time to show the performance on these but Modi is silent on them. He kept talking about black money for three years but does not speak on it for even three minutes now. Since demonetisation, reports by the NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) and the Labour Bureau how that at least 4.75 crore jobs have been lost. But he doesn’t talk about that either,” he said.
Opting not to comment on the Election Commission’s silence on the invocation of the armed forces for votes, he alleged, “Modiji’s office is always interfering with the autonomy of reputed institutions.”
He added, “We don’t wish to make an issue out of a non-issue. We want to first concentrate on defeating the ideology of the RSS and the BJP. Everybody (allies, other Opposition parties) can come together and elect a leader later. We are going to people with issues and the failures of this government, and the people are responding.”
Saying the chemistry between the Congress and the NCP in the state was excellent, he alleged that Modi’s rally in Mumbai (on Friday) was planned out of fear caused by the surge of the Congress-led alliance.