The Congress on Thursday demanded a public apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “misleading” the nation by “distorting, twisting and falsifying” Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Manipur on Tuesday.
“Modiji tried to mislead the nation and the people of Uttar Pradesh about a remark made by Rahul Gandhi on the progress of a northeastern state which is essentially a part of India’s growth story. Modiji does not want the people of Manipur and northeastern states to progress and participate in India’s growth story,” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters.
The Congress also showed the separate videos of the speeches of Gandhi in Manipur and Modi in Uttar Pradesh.
“The truth is that Modiji does not speak the truth. That was more than apparent from a video which depicts that blatant lies, jumlas and misinformation has become the hallmark of India’s Prime Minister,” Surjewala said.
Addressing an election rally in Maharajganj on Wednesday, the Prime Minister sought to ridicule the Congress vice-president over a comment he never made about coconuts growing in the northeastern state of Manipur.
Modi referred to Gandhi’s reported comment that he was waiting for the day when packaged “coconut juice” from Manipur would sell in London. Most major Indian news outlets, including Hindustan Times, had erroneously reported Gandhi’s so-called coconut comment.
“There is a Congress leader, and I want to pray for his long life ... He recently went to Manipur to address an election rally. There he told farmers that he would extract juice from coconuts and send it to London. In fact, a coconut possesses water (and not juice) and it is grown in Kerala,” said Modi. “Such a talented and far-sighted leader he is.”
The jibe, however, was misplaced as Gandhi, during a campaign meeting in Manipur on Tuesday, had spoken about the state taking a lead in marketing its oranges, lemons and pineapples – fruits that do grow there.
The election campaign in five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Manipur, that are voting to elect new assemblies has largely been bitter. Modi and Gandhi have targetted each other in public meetings. Leaders have even launched personal attacks and some have been prone to gaffes.
“So, Modiji must now apologise not to the Congress party alone but the entire nation and express regrets publicly for misleading the people of Uttar Pradesh as also the entire country by distorting, twisting and falsifying the words of the leader of the principal opposition party,” Surjewala said.
“It does not behove a Prime Minister. Modiji has lowered the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister that he holds and he should be ashamed about it. We are sorry and sad in saying these words about the Prime Minister who has become a habitual offender in telling lies,” he added.
The Congress leader also called the BJP as “Bahut Jhooti Pathshaala”.