5.00 pm: I hate sob stories, Modi tells Rahul
He had started off taking a teasing dig at Rahul's sob story and in the middle of his speech, Narendra Modi made sure that his audience is reminded of the history around the same incidents. Changing his intonation to resemble a sob, Modi, said, "The shahzada said that he was very angry when his grandmother died. But did he say what his party's anger did to the Sikh community. Did he say, that overcome by that anger, his party cadres burnt thousands of Sikhs alive? And Congress has not punished a single person responsible for perpetrating the crime?"
Though it might stir up a hornet's nest, Modi decided to leave not a single claim, a single statement made by Rahul in his MP rally alone. And if this continues to be the general trend, Rahul will really need to fact check before making speeches.
"You have given Congress 60 years, give us 60 months and see what we can do for the country," said Modi. If Rahul's doesn't clean up his act soon, that might just be a tempting poll catchline to follow.
4.55 pm: Gujarat CM's Modi takes a step back to let Modi, India's aspiring PM take a step forward
Though for the longest time, the strongest line of criticism against Modi had been that he doesn't bother to look beyond Gujarat and possibly doesn't choose to do the same either, Modi today showed that he is willing to underplay the Gujarat government's successes to further BJP's election dreams. Referring to the severe drought and lack of opportunities in Bundelkhand, Modi said, "The Congress government has crippled this area so much that it is impossible for the youth to work here. My Gujarat is shining because of the extreme hard work of the youth from Bundelkhand who work in factories there."
Then he refers to a project he claims to have floated in Gujarat where factory workers from Bundelkhand will work in Gujarat factories for 6 months, then leave for Bundelkhand during the months conducive to agriculture. "That way, they will contribute to the progress of my state and make sure that their state too is not left behind. They will work with their mothers and fathers on their lands," he said.
4.32 pm: How long will Congress take to feed your empty stomachs?
Then Modi goes on to take apart Congress pro-poor pitch and makes a joke out of their very poll refrain - Puri Roti Khao, Congress sarkar to Lao. "It took them 60 years to give one a whole roti from a half roti. How long will they take feed you properly - a stomach-full of rotis? A hundred years?"
While Rahul has been desperately trying to shed the baggage of elitism he comes with by constantly talking about the poor as if he is one of them, Modi's 'chai wala's son' claims render it vacuous. "Look at BJP. They have made someone like me, who used to sell tea on trains as a child, their PM aspirant. That is how unbiased the party is."
Then again, he reworked the 'chowkidaar' dig meant for the PM in the past and said, "Don't make me the Prime Minister of the country. Make me the chowkidaar. I will go to Delhi and make sure that nobody dares to siphon our wealth away." Referring to the popular Hindu symbolism of Lakshmi and wealth, he added that, "Bring in the lotus, bring in wealth".
4.27 pm: “Who the hell is Rahul?”
Countering each claim with his own, Modi hit Rahul where it hurts the most. “Who exactly is our prince? Just a MP right? How can he claim that the IB gives information to someone who is not a part of the government and is not sworn to secrecy? And if the IB is indeed doing so, what does it say about who runs the government of the country and how?”
He turned the Congress' secularism agenda on its head too and turned it against them, questioning Rahul's claims about youths in Muzaffarnagar refugee camps. "I ask him to declare the names of the youths who he says is in touch with the ISI. Else, I demand he apologise to the youth. How dare he vilify a community like this and try to win votes?"
4.12 pm: Modi takes a dig at Rahul, right at the start
Modi’s speech takes a flying start with a direct dig at Rahul Gandhi. “I am not here to weep, or to tell a sob story. I am here to wipe your tears,” he said, making a sly reference to tragedies of the Gandhi family that Rahul keeps referring to.
Countering Rahul’s claims from his speech yesterday where he said that the Madhya Pradesh government hasn’t utilized the funds sent by the Centre, Modi said, “Shivraj Chouhan has used every penny sent to him by the Centre and has made the section of Bundelkhand in MP three times more fertile that it was. Thirty percent of the land has been irrigated and the area yields three times the crop it used to in the past.”
"Where is the temple they promised, where are the roads they promised, where are the jobs they promised. I was circling this area on a helicopter and saw that this area is surrounded with rivers. Why, then, is Bundelkhand facing severe drought? Why are farmers committing suicide? Why is it that farmers in states controlled by Congress and its allies face so many difficulties?"
2.47 pm: Modi in Bundelkhand, will he hit back at 'angry' Rahul?
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi is to shortly address a Vijay Shankhnaad rally on Friday in Jhansi of the Bundelkhand region, which has been long considered a bastion of the SP and BSP.
The rally is the second in Uttar Pradesh out of the proposed nine rallies by year end. It is aimed at not only influencing voters in the four parliamentary constituencies of the Bundelkhand region, but also in districts like Guna, Datia, Panna, Shivpuri, Teekamgarh and Chatarpur in Madhya Pradesh that go to polls next month.
BJP leaders say Modi will be “seeking account” of the Rs.7,200 crore package given to Bundelkhand region by the central government at the behest of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Modi is expected to go after the Congress Vice President.
It will be interesting to see if Modi hits back at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who has lately been on an anti-BJP drive. In rallies in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Rahul blamed the BJP for “setting fire” among communities across the country. “The BJP will set fire in Muzaffarnagar, in Gujarat, in Kashmir and other places,” he said.
The BJP has since said that it will complain about the comment to the Election Commission, on the basis that it violates the model code of conduct. The BJP has also slammed Rahul Gandhi for comments that an intelligence official had told him that Muslim youth affected by the Muzaffarnagar riots were being lured by Pakistani agencies. “There are 10 to 15 such Muslim boys whose brothers and sisters were killed in the riots and who were approached by Pakistani agencies”, Gandhi had said, adding that he had only claimed that the intelligence official told him he was working on convincing the youths not to come under the influence of the Pakistani operatives. This has been criticised not just by the BJP, but also the Samajwadi Party.
Rahul’s political innings in the state began six years back from a Dalit home here, but nothing has happened here, Vijay Bahadur Pathak, BJP spokesman told IANS. “Despite the Congress hype of political focus and financial assistance to this area, it sadly contributes for the maximum farmer suicides in the state.
Both the Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) try to fool the poor people of this region by mere lip service” he added. Out of the four Lok Sabha seats in the region – Jalaun, Hamirpur, Banda and Jhansi, the BJP holds no seat, while the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have two seats each.
“It is our endeavour not only to take these seats from opposition parties, but also to change the face of the undeveloped Bundelkhand region,” state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpayi told IANS. The rally at the GIC grounds in Jhansi will also see party leader Uma Bharti and former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, who earlier this year merged his regional party with the BJP.
With inputs from IANS
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: Nov 20, 2013 21:30:01 IST