With just 10 days left for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, both Congress and BJP sharpened their verbal volleys on each other on Monday even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had refused to forge an alliance with the AAP in Delhi.
While both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah accused the Congress of defaming Hindus by calling them “terrorists”, Gandhi, who launched the party’s campaign in Telangana, hit back at the government over unemployment and accused the ruling TRS of having a “partnership” with BJP.
Election news wrap: Rahul chooses ‘safe’ Wayanad; PM interacts with Chowkidars
Here are today’s political developments:
NDA’s Thushar Vellappally pitted against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad
A day after Congress announced that its president Rahul Gandhi will contest from a second Lok Sabha seat, Wayanad, BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday said Thushar Vellappally, chief of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), will be the NDA candidate from the Kerala seat.
“A vibrant and dynamic youth leader, he represents our commitment towards development and social justice. With him, NDA will emerge as Kerala’s political alternative,” Shah tweeted.
Thushar Vellappally is the son of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan. The Congress has won the Wayanad seat twice since it came into existence in 2009 after the delimitation of constituencies.
PM Modi, Amit Shah attack Congress over ‘Hindu terror’ tag
In a two-pronged attack on the Congress, PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah alleged that the party had “committed the sin” of linking the Hindu religion with terrorism.
Launching the joint campaign of BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra’s Wardha, PM Modi said the Hindus had now woken up and would “punish” the opposition party.
“The Congress tried to stain crores of the country’s people using the term ‘Hindu terror’. Tell me, weren’t you deeply hurt when you heard the term ‘Hindu terror’? Is there a single incident in the history of thousands of years of Hindus engaging in terrorism?” Modi said.
While addressing a rally in Paralakhemundi in Odisha’s Gajapati district, Amit Shah raked up the Samjhauta Express blast case to attack the Congress, saying the UPA government compromised with national security by allowing the real culprits in the case to go scot-free.
“Rahul (Gandhi) Baba’s party attempted to link the Hindu community with terrorism. It was a bid to defame Hindus across the world,” Shah said.
Kejriwal says Rahul Gandhi has refused to ally with AAP
After much dilly-dallying, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Congress president Rahul Gandhi had refused to forge an alliance with the AAP for the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi.
Kejriwal said he had met Rahul Gandhi recently and the Congress chief had refused to “join hands with the AAP”. Asked about Congress’ Delhi chief Sheila Dikshit’s remarks that Kejriwal never approached her for an alliance, the CM said, “We have met Rahul Gandhi. Dikshit is not that important leader.”
Rahul Gandhi launches poll campaign in Telangana, attacks BJP, TRS
Addressing three rallies at Zaheerabad, Wanaparthy and Huzurnagar in Telangana, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused the ruling TRS of having a “partnership” with BJP and alleged that unemployment rate was highest under Modi’s five-year regime.
Gandhi’s attack on the Modi government was centred around the lack of jobs and he said if Congress came to power it would spend 6 per cent of the GDP on education, building new colleges and universities.
“He promised two crore jobs (every year). Has anyone of you got jobs?” he asked. Portraying the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led party as the “B team” of the BJP, Gandhi said, “Modi gets help from Telangana. The remote control is in the hands of Modi. If you vote for TRS you are giving a vote to Narendra Modi and RSS.”
Yogi Adityanath’s ‘Modi ji ki sena’ remarks creates row
The Election Commission on Monday took cognizance of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yodi Adityanath referring to the Indian Army as ‘Modi ji ki sena‘. Adityanath’s remarks elicited all-round condemnation from Opposition leaders who said the Army belonged to the country and not the “prachaar mantri” (information minister).
While taking a swipe at the Opposition during a public meeting on Sunday, Yogi had said, “Congress people would feed biryani to terrorists, while Modi’s army gives them bullet or bomb. This is the difference. The Congress people use ‘Ji’ in Masood Azhar’s name to encourage terrorism.”
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