Modi targets Congress as ‘laughing club’, exhorts voters to free HP from mafias | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Modi targets Congress as ‘laughing club’, exhorts voters to free HP from mafias

Modi addressed two rallies in the hill state that will vote for a new 68-member assembly on November 9 and made corruption the central theme in the speeches.

HimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Nov 03, 2017 11:38 IST
Naresh K Thakur and Surender Sharma
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing an election rally at Rehan in the Fatepur assembly segment of Kangra district on November 2. The Prime Minister attacked the Congress for promising ‘zero tolerance’ on corruption when its own chief minister was facing allegations of graft and said the state’s ruling party had become a ‘laughing club’. (Shyam Sharma /ht)

With voting day a week away in Himachal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday targeted Congress as a “laughing club” that had come to symbolise corruption, communalism and a rotten thinking.

Modi addressed two rallies in the hill state that will vote for a new 68-member assembly on November 9 and made corruption the central theme, urging people to teach a lesson to the Congress in whose rule “five demons” had thrived.

“Mining mafia, forest mafia, drug mafia, tender mafia and transfer mafia are the five demons robbing the next generation of their future,” Modi said at a well-attended rally in Rehan in Fatehpur assembly segment of Kangra district.

“Press the right button and kill the demon. You have a chance to say goodbye to those who looted you,” Modi said, promising “a magnificent, divine Himachal” under the BJP rule.

The BJP though has its task cut out as it battles factionalism that saw the party chief Amit Shah name Prem Kumar Dhumal the chief ministerial candidate two days ago. The party had earlier decided against naming a CM candidate.

For the last many elections, the hill state has not given two successive terms to a party, with voters altering between the Congress and the BJP.

Though its chief minister was out on bail in a corruption case, the Congress had the audacity to talk about zero-tolerance for corruption in its manifesto, Modi said, referring to graft charges against Virbhadra Singh.

“Everyday a soldier from Himachal lays down life in the service of nation in Kashmir… and a Congress leader endorses greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir,” Modi said in a veiled attack on former finance minister P Chidambram.

The PM’s comments were seen as targeted at a sizable numbe of serving and retried soldiers in Kangra district.

“There is not a single leader in this laughing club who has the courage to criticise this leader,” he said.

Modi also took on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, saying a person whose great grandfather, grandmother and father served as prime ministers had little faith in the people, army and the government of India.

Instead of talking to the government, he secretly met the Chinese envoy during a standoff between the two countries in Doklam.

The BJP’s “Congress-mukt Bharat (Congress-free India)” was a mass awareness campaign to uproot the rotten thinking the party had come to symbolise, he said.

At his rally in Nahan’s Dhaulakuan in Sirmaur district, Modi attacked the Congress for questioning surgical strikes. The army had in September 2016 crossed the line of control and hit terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

The Congress had lost touch with people. “The Congress has a PhD in lying and cheating people... teach them a lesson,” Modi said.

He also defended his government’s demonetisation decision, saying it aimed at ending corruption. The Congress has accused the government of destroying the economy by scrapping high-value notes and shoddy implementation of the goods and services tax.

Reaching out to the state’s 2.4 million women voters, Modi said if they wanted to secure their children’s future, they should ensure at least 5% higher turnout then men.

“Ensure a record breaking victory to BJP and punish the Congress,” he said.