Addressing rallies at Alwar in Rajasthan, and Vidisha and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the Congress over remarks by its leaders C P Joshi, Raj Babbar and Vilas Muttemwar against him. He alleged that their statements had the backing of party chief Rahul Gandhi.
While Joshi had remarked on the Prime Minister’s caste, Babbar had drawn a parallel between the falling value of rupee and the age of the Prime Minister’s mother. Muttemwar had said that the world knows who the father of Rahul Gandhi was, but nobody knows the name of Modi’s father.
He also accused the opposition party of resorting to “dynasty” and “divisive” politics.
Targeting Congress leader Joshi for his remark on the caste of several BJP leaders, including him, the Prime Minister said, “When you aren’t accountable for the work you did, when you don’t have a vision for the welfare of Rajasthan, when you don’t have any logic to explain the intense war within your party, tab phir chunav ka mudda ban jata hai Modi ki jaat kaunsi hai (then Modi’s caste becomes an election issue).”
“Please tell me brothers, will you vote on the basis of Modi’s caste? Will it decide the future of Rajasthan? Can the Congress still not leave this poison of casteism? The raag darbaris of Congress are quiet but the public will not forget these things. Whenever Congress’s basic nature appears, then their speech, behaviour reflect it,” he said at Alwar.
He said the Congress was “stooping lower and lower”. “They have left the ethics of politics, forgotten etiquette, and have lost the will to debate on development,” he said, daring the Congress to challenge the claims of development made by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
“Brothers and sisters, to defeat Babasaheb Ambedkar, the kind of games and the kind of language Congress’s tall leaders used… from then till now, whenever any person from an ordinary background gives these namdaars a challenge, they go after him,” he said.
To hit back at Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Babbar’s remark, he referred to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s remarks during the Mandal Commission discussion in Parliament. “Parliament was discussing Mandal Commission and namdaar, shrimaan Rajiv Gandhi, zara parliament ki us debate ko nikaal kar ke dekh lijye, Mandal Commission ke khilaf Rajiv Gandhi ne jo jeher ugla tha, jo bhasha ka prayog kiya tha, jo alochna ki thi, wo aaj bhi Hindustan ki Parliament ki deewaro ke beech mein goonj rahi hai. (Look up that debate in Parliament, The poison Rajiv Gandhi spewed against Mandal Commission, the kind of language he used, the criticism, it still echoes within the walls of Parliament),” he said.
“Some Congress leader abuses my mother, or raises questions about my caste, I am not surprised. Bolne wala koi bhi ho, lekin bulwane wala toh naamdaar hi hota hai (No matter who says it, it is the naamdar who makes them say),” he said.
“The party which has ruled for four generations, I want to ask them, if the head of India goes to some country, does the world ask him his caste?” he said, adding that “their poisoned, casteist mentality can’t accept that a chaiwalla (tea-seller)” is now occupying the top post”.
Speaking at Vidisha, he accused the Congress of dragging his old mother and father, who died 30 years ago, into politicking because it has no answer to the development agenda of BJP leaders like him and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. “The Congress has stooped to gali galoch (abuses),’’ he said, referring to statements by Babbar and Muttemwar.
He said members of the Gandhi family have occupied the highest positions of power in government and, therefore, their rule is liable to public scrutiny.
“Hundred generations of my family have no relation to politics. You can seek account of my work. We don’t talk about any family member of yours, we talk about former prime ministers,’’ Modi said.
The Prime Minister said the Congress has never contested on the development plank and will never dare to do so, because it practises “divisive” politics. He also referred to Congress leader Kamal Nath’s appeal to Muslim groups to vote for the party in large numbers.
At Jabalpur, he warned the people against making the mistake of voting Congress to power. “Your future is at stake,” he said, alleging that the Congress did little in its 55-year rule in the state. He said states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal have not allowed the Congress to return to power. “There must be some reason behind the Congress party having fallen on bad times there,” he said, blaming this on “divisive and dynasty politics”. “It’s necessary to save oneself from political culture of a family that has become a burden on the country,” he said.