BJP prime ministerial candidate on Tuesday hit back at Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for caging Gir lions provided by the Gujarat government. But he roared more at Congress president Sonia Gandhi for neglecting Rae Bareli and giving Muslims in UP's kite industry a raw deal.
Addressing a rally at Bareilly, Modi said his government acceded to Yadav's request to provide lions from Gir forest to UP. "In Gujarat, they (lions) roam freely with lion-hearted people. The UP government could not control our lions and chose to put them in a cage," he said, reacting to Yadav's caging-the-Gujarat-lions barb on Monday.
Commiserating with Muslims, Modi criticised the state government for allowing Chinese imports to kill UP's kite industry. "While Lucknow is sleeping, Muslims in Gujarat are part of the Rs. 500 crore kite trade," he said, holding Gandhi equally responsible for the Muslims' plight.
"The government in Delhi remembers Rae Bareli (Gandhi's constituency) but forgets Bareilly," he added and explained why Rae Bareli remains backward despite electing such strong leaders. "The Congress is not connected with the poor. Sitting in AC rooms, they make schemes to run the country from Delhi but things remain the same."
Tweaking the popular song 'Bareilly ke bazaar mein jhumka gira re…', Modi said: "The jhumka (earrings) won't fall, Sa-Ba-Ka will." The acronym, he said, expanded to SP, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress.
The BJP leader also addressed rallies in Madhya Pradesh. The focus of his campaign was on Rewa, where party candidate Janardhan Mishra faces challenge from the BSP.
Modi, however, made a faux pas while campaigning in Beohari under Sidhi parliamentary constituency. He said that Tansen, legendary musician in emperor Akbar's court, belonged to Sidhi district. But local historians pointed out Tansen had no connection with Sidhi.
"Sidhi from where Tansen learnt music and began his career had a close relation with Vadnagar where I was born. Tansen went to Vadnagar to learn Raag Malhar from sisters Tana and Riri," Modi said at an election meeting.
Santosh Singh Chauhan, author of several history books on the Vindhya region (of which Sidhi is a part), said: "Tansen used to sing in the court of King Rewa. He never visited Sidhi though Sidhi was then under Rewa princely state."