Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why he “fled” Gujarat and is not fighting elections from the state which made him Prime Minister.
Patel was referring to PM Modi seeking re-election from Varanasi in UP. In the last Lok Sabha elections, Modi had contested from two seats — Vadodara in Gujarat and Varanasi in UP. However, after he won from both the seats, he retained Varanasi and vacated Vadodara. Patel was addressing an election meeting here in the tribal-dominated area of Sabarkantha in North Gujarat.
Patel said that Modi was trying to gain people’s sympathy by alleging that the Opposition is using “casteist language” against him, a Gujarati. “I believe that nobody should use such language and if anybody is doing it, I condemn it,” Patel said, adding “But, have you left anything (in that area)? What kind of language you have used for Soniaji and Rahul Gandhi. You did not even spare Gandhiji, father of the nation.”
He also asked, “And if you feel so strongly about Gujarat, why did you flee from here? Why are you not fighting elections from Gujarat?” After leaving Gujarat, Patel said, Modi has nominated Amit Shah for the Gandhinagar seat, sidelining Advani under whom Modi grew up politically.
Patel also dared Modi to imprison Congress leaders, asking why he did not do it in the past five years. “He is threatening Congress; that the family is corrupt and (he) will put them behind bars when (he) comes to power again. Till now, who was stopping you?” Patel asked. “You can do whatever you want to do. Congress and its leaders have never been afraid. You may hang us…But you too have very less time left now. After May 23, you will also be ex-Prime Minister.”
Patel also criticised Modi for the controversial episode related to the suspension of an officer who dared to inspect the helicopter of the electioneering prime minister.
“They say that their helicopter cannot be inspected,” said Patel, adding that the helicopters of “Soniaji have been inspected in 2002 and later”.
“If there is nothing (to hide), then what is your objection in getting that (chopper) checked. Why does your Petroleum Minister fight at the airport with the officer?” asked Patel. “The officer is discharging his duty…when there is something fishy, then only the inspection cannot be done…The officer has been suspended.”
Referring to a large box from the prime minister’s helicopter being loaded onto an Innova car and being rushed away recently, Patel asked, “Why do boxes come out only from the Prime Minister’s helicopter? And (why not) take it openly? Why do you take it quietly in other vehicles?”
Patel took a swipe at the BJP over its ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign for which a large number of merchandise has been produced, distributed and sold.
“Everywhere you can see chowkidar, chowkidar. Four days ago, I had gone to Rajnath Singh (Union Home Minister) with a problem. There the box of tissue paper had also written on it ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’” said Patel “I asked Rajnath Singh, he being the Home Minister what has he got to do with it. He said, ‘Sab karte hain to ye chalne do yaar. Natak chala hain to chalne do’,” Patel said.
Patel added that even former army chief V K Singh who joined the BJP was getting calls from the party office to prefix chowkidar before his name on Twitter.
“He (V K Singh) said that ‘I am an army officer. I will not write (chowkidar). I was an Army chief. If I write Chowkidar, then what will others think’,” Patel said.