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From ‘Bhrashtachari no. 1’ to ‘Duryodhana’, here’s how top leaders have taken ‘name-calling’ to a new low

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “Bhrashtachari no. 1” taunt at Rajiv Gandhi to Priyanka Gandhi's "Duryodhana" retort, the poll rhetoric has become only shriller and harsher this time

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 7, 2019 9:54:18 pm
The poll rhetoric has become only shriller and harsher among the higher rungs of political parties. (File)

Amid the rough and tumble of the high-stakes Lok Sabha elections, political discourse this year has hit a new low with campaign compulsions bringing out the worst in many politicians, with even senior leaders losing their cool and hurling abuses at their rivals.

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Bhrashtachari no. 1” taunt at Rajiv Gandhi to Priyanka Gandhi’s “Duryodhana” retort, the poll rhetoric has become only shriller and harsher among the top brass of political parties.

While, in the past, such cringe-worthy remarks were limited to lesser leaders, this election season has seen unparalleled personal attacks and verbal volleys coming from veterans and leaders occupying high posts within parties.

Political slugfest between PM Modi and Mamata in Bengal

Even though super cyclone Fani may not have caused serious damage in West Bengal, it has successfully triggered a political storm between Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee, with the latter, in an unprecedented remark, saying she doesn’t consider Modi as the country’s prime minister.

On a day, Modi accused Mamata of “playing politics” after she did not return his calls to discuss the damages made by cyclone Fani, the TMC chief shot back, saying she didn’t want to share the dais with the PM as elections were on. “I don’t consider him the country’s PM, hence I didn’t sit for the meeting. I don’t want to be seen with him on the same platform. I will speak to the next PM. We can take care of cyclone damage by ourselves. We don’t need Centre’s help ahead of polls,” Banerjee said at an election rally in West Bengal’s Jhargram.

The mudslinging didn’t only stop there and Banerjee came up with another gem on Tuesday, saying she wanted to give the prime minister a “tight slap of democracy”. The remark was in response to PM Modi calling TMC a “toll collector” party. “Money doesn’t matter to me. That is why when Narendra Modi came to Bengal and accused my party of being tolabaaz (toll collector), I wanted to give him a tight slap of democracy,” ANI quoted Mamata as saying at a rally in West Bengal’s Purulia district.

Even though super cyclone Fani may not have caused serious damage in West Bengal, it has successfully triggered a political storm between Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee. (File)

PM Modi’s ‘Bhrashtachari no. 1’ taunt at Rajiv Gandhi

PM Narendra Modi himself has taken the political discourse into unchartered waters with his recent comments on Rajiv Gandhi, drawing widespread criticism from various Opposition parties. Speaking at a rally in Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh last week, Modi had taken a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, saying, “Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No. 1 (corrupt number 1)’.”

PM Modi’s remark was a bid to counter Congress’s incessant attacks against him on alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal and party chief Rahul Gandhi’s campaign slogan “chowkidar chor hai“.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also jumped into the bitter fight, saying PM Modi had lost his mental balance. “Rajiv Gandhi ji passed away years ago, talking about him and that too during elections shows Modi ji has lost mental balance. He needs medical treatment. He says he only gets to sleep for three to four hours. Those who don’t get enough sleep tend to lose their mental balance,” ANI quoted Baghel as saying.

Priyanka Gandhi likens PM Modi to Duryodhana

Congress new inductee Priyanka Gandhi also joined the name-calling spree, labelling PM Modi as ‘Duryodhana’ at a campaign rally in Haryana’s Ambala. She said PM Modi’s arrogance would bring his downfall in the Lok Sabha elections.

“The country has never forgiven arrogance. Duryodhana had similar arrogance. When Lord Krishna tried to make him understand, he instead tried to capture him. Renowned poet Dinkar has written, ‘When someone is about to be destroyed, their wisdom ends first’,” Priyanka said.

With so much filth flying thick and fast among the “creamy layer” of politicians, one cannot but be reminded of then Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death) remark against Modi in reference to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

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