Modi says Congress a party of termites, scared of crackdown on benami properties | assembly-elections$HP-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Modi says Congress a party of termites, scared of crackdown on benami properties

On the campaign trail in Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Congress’ plans to mark the first anniversary of demonetization as a ‘black day’ was a ploy to stave off a crackdown on benami properties of its leaders.

HimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Nov 04, 2017 20:27 IST
Naresh K Thakur and Roop Upadhyay
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at crowd during BJP Parivartan Rally at Rait near Dharamsala on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at crowd during BJP Parivartan Rally at Rait near Dharamsala on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hinted at a crackdown on ‘benami’ properties as he lashed out at the Congress, saying it was worried because its leaders would lose their assets in the government’s clean-up operation.

At two election rallies in Kangra and Sundernagar in Himachal Pradesh, he also slammed Congress for calling November 8--the first anniversary of demonetization-- a “black day” and described the grand old party as termites.

The state goes to polls on November 9.

“Congress is observing ‘black (money) day’ on November 8 and they have planned to burn my effigies,” Modi said addressing rally at Rait in Kangra.

“They lost ill-gotten money due to demonetization and Congress is worried as government has brought a law to curb “benami property.”

“Congress’ campaign was aimed at mislead people and create an atmosphere against government before a crackdown on benami assets accumulated by its leaders,” he said.

He went on to warn the Congress that he would not be cowed down.

“Congress should not forget that I am a disciple of Sardar Patel and nothing could deter me from continuing this fight against corruption,” he said.

Likening Congress to termites, Modi asked people to wipe out the party and get rid of it forever.

Mocking the Congress, Modi heaped scorn on the party insisting that it has conceded defeat.

“No big Congress leader is coming to Himachal. At this stage, Congress has left Virbhadra to his fate,” Modi said as he took pot shots at the 83-year-old chief minister.

Elated over the overwhelming response from the crowd, Modi said, it reflects which way the wind was blowing.

“Congress will not be visible even through the magnifying glass for many years,” Modi predicted as the crowd cheered with “Har-Har Modi, Ghar-Ghar Modi” slogan.

Exhorting the people of Himachal to vote BJP to power with three-fourth majority, he said the “Modi- Dhumal Jodi” (pair) will take Himachal to new heights.

Addressing the rally at Sundernagar in Mandi district, the prime minister said the election in Himachal was not just to form a government but to build a “magnificent and divine Himachal”.

“You have seen enough of dynastic rule. Now, time has come to elect people’s government,” he told a cheering crowd.

Maintaining that the government should be connected with people, Modi said people have not forgotten the 10-year-rule of UPA.

“At that time, newspapers would report a scam every day. Today, the headline is about how much Modi government has brought back,” he said.

To woo the middle class voters, Modi said, said they were the most honest people and it is government’s responsibility to take care of them and resolve their problems.

The Prime Minister said that the welfare schemes launched by his government were bringing a positive change in the lives of middle class families.

Modi said Himachal has vast potential in tourism sector but lacks connectivity.

“Our government has given more road and railway projects to Himachal than previous government,” Modi said, adding that hill-state will grow as a global tourist destination under a BJP regime.

Sukh Ram, Dhumal skip rallies

Veteran leader Sukh Ram, who along with his son Anil Sharma - a former minister - switched over to BJP recently, skipped Modi’s Sundernagar rally due to poor health.

Anil Sharma, who is contesting from Mandi, told HT that his father was scheduled to campaign in Arki assembly segment but could not go as he was unwell.

The BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal also could not attend either of the rallies due to his busy schedule.

But BJP media in-charge Hemanshu Misra said that Dhumal will attend the Prime Minister’s rally at Una on Sunday.

Among the senior leaders, Shanta Kumar attended rally at Kangra while Union health minister J P Nadda was present in Sundernagar.