Two days after winning the Vadgam seat as an Independent candidate in the Gujarat Assembly election, Jignesh Mevani took a jibe at Narendra Modi and said that the prime minister should retire and "go to the Himalayas".
Speaking to CNN-News18, Mevani suggested Modi should take "sanyas". "Even at 70, Modi is calling himself youth," the Dalit was quoted as saying.
Mevani admitted that he had taken Rs 51,000 as donation from the Popular Front of India (PFI) for his campaign, and challenged the Centre to ban the organisation.
Mevani said that SDPI, a wing of the PFI, is a registered political party. "If PFI is a dubious group, then what is the man with a 56-inch chest doing? Why has there been no action from him?" Mevani said, further taunting Modi.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) December 20, 2017
The newly-elected MLA had also taken potshots at the BJP on Twitter on Monday, after results were announced, saying the party had won "only 99 seats", and claimed the country is ready for change in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Mevani also told CNN-News18 on Wednesday that he is not apologetic for criticising Modi. "That is because Modi promised that he would ensure two crore youth are given employment every year. It's been four years now, and eight crore youth should have been employed by now. Now, he doesn't even mention the youth," Mevani added.
When several exit polls had predicted a landslide victory for the BJP ahead of the counting of votes in Gujarat, Mevani had rejected them, saying that even the "high-voltage campaign" by the party's top leadership may not be able to save the party, since they could not have any solid achievements in the state in the last three years it was in power at the Centre.
"People of the state understand that the Gujarat model is a deception," Mewani had said.
He was among the key hopes for the Congress party, who had banked on him, along with Alpesh Thakor and Hardik Patel to overcome the BJP. Even though Mevani contested as an Independent candidate, Congress had given him tacit support and did not field any candidate from Vadgam. Mevani polled 95,497 votes on a reserved seat, defeating BJP's Vijay Chakravarti by a margin of 19,696 votes.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2017 15:33:44 IST