Gujarat polls: From Narendra Modi's 'hawa-hawai' seaplane to 'fairness' mushrooms; political mudslinging turns creative

The last of day of campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly elections showed how political discourse in this nation can be one heck of a ride, and that is with or without the involvement of seaplanes.

From complexion-transforming mushrooms to problematic water based-aircrafts, politicians got creative with their mudslinging and fingerpointing on this crucial day of polling. It seems that the aggressive and communal campaigns in the run-up to the elections did not pack enough of a punch. So, the leaders in the poll-bound western state have gone in some rather interesting directions to pique the interest of voters.

Accusations take flight as Modi boards seaplane in Gandhinagar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a seaplane in Gandhinagar and file image of mushrooms. AP and Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a seaplane in Gandhinagar and file image of mushrooms. AP and Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took off in a seaplane from the Sabarmati Riverfront to Dharoi Dam, a reservoir near Ambaji, to hold an election rally. The Bharatiya Janata Party said it was "the first-ever flight by a seaplane in the country."

When asked why Modi took the seaplane, BJP official Jagdish Bhavsar said, "You can take this gesture of the prime minister as our other programmes like the Ro-Ro ferry service, or the Bullet Train project or the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). You can take this new programme as one of the initiatives of the BJP."

This led to quite a lot of backlash from Opposition parties. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala took the help of a song from the Bollywood movie Mr India to criticise this move. He put out a tweet saying, "Vikas ki baatein unko na bhaai, kehte hai unko hawa-hawai."

Surjewala really wanted people to use this specific image of Modi, as he posted another tweet against the prime minister.

Even Hardik Patel joined the ferry of complaints, going mythological in his jab against Modi. "Vikas toh Lanka mein bhi hua tha, Lanka puri sone ki thi lekin ahankaar aur ghamand ki wajah se puri Lanka jal gayi thi!!!" Hardik said, with one too many exclamation marks.

He also urged the BJP to ensure that the seaplanes should somehow help farmers spray pesticides.

Modi went on to explain that the seaplane would go on to be a way to harness waterways for India’s progress. He also said that they can be helpful during times of medical emergencies. Those needing even quicker access to medical care and those living in remote areas stand to gain a lot.

So, once this matter turned turtle and landed on the waters of the news cycle, something even more hard to digest came to the fore.

Modi mushrooms 

Gujarat OBC leader Alpesh Thakor took a jibe at Modi for completely different reasons on Tuesday, choosing to question his culinary preferences, especially of the fungal variety. Thakor claimed that the prime minister "eats imported mushrooms from Taiwan." Not just that, he said that this specific mushroom helped Modi make his complexion fairer. He further said that he has heard each of the mushrooms cost Rs 80,000 and the prime minister consumes five pieces on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, Thakor did not specify how this mushroom helps Modi's complexion or the development of Gujarat. BJP leaders haven't let this comment get under their skin yet, as there have been no reactions to the comments.

Whether Modi's mushrooms will rival Rahul's potato controversy is yet to be seen.

On a more serious note, The second phase of the Gujarat elections on Thursday will see around two crore voters decide the fate of 1,828 candidates fighting for 93 assembly seats. The counting of votes will take place on 18 December.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2017 17:54 PM

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