Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that the Congress “tried to kill” Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1984 is the latest in a series of remarks targeted at the main opposition party and its leaders.
Criticising Akhilesh Yadav for the poll alliance with the Congress, Modi said the Uttar Pradesh chief minister had joined hands with the party that had once plotted to kill his father Mulayam Singh, repeating a charge made by the SP patriarch in 1984.
From personal to political, Modi has been unsparing in his attacks on the Congress, at home as well as abroad. Here are some of the digs and accusations he has made after taking over as the prime minister in May 2014:
May 16, 2015: At a reception hosted by the Indian community in Shanghai, China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for going on a two-month vacation earlier that year. “I had said I will work hard. Have I let up? I have not taken any vacation and (I) work day and night,” Modi said.
September 10, 2015: “Yeh hawalabaazon ki jamaat (this party of hawala operators)… is creating obstructions in a democracy because the ground beneath their feet is slipping. I know what is bothering them. It’s the law on black money,” Modi said in Bhopal.
In his address to party workers, the Prime Minister blamed the Congress for the stalemate during the monsoon session of Parliament.
September 28, 2015: Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra was at the receiving end when Modi addressed the Indian community at San Jose, California. “In our country it doesn’t take much for allegations to come up against politicians... Someone made 50 crores, someone’s son made 250 crores, (someone’s) daughter made 500 crores, (someone’s) damaad (son-in-law) made 1,000 crores...” he said, in a not-so-veiled reference to corruption charges against Vadra.
March 3, 2016: Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Modi went three years back to attack Rahul. “Some people learn with age but some don’t,” he said. Modi talked about how Rahul had in September 2013 publically torn a copy of an ordinance that the Congress-led UPA government was planning against convicted lawmakers.
“Some people have given up on respect and regard of elders. The nation will never forget the day a decision taken by Manmohan Singh and his cabinet was insulted. The Prime Minister was in the US, and here someone publicly tore apart that cabinet decision.... Please learn to respect elders,” he said.
December 22, 2016: Modi again mocked Rahul at a public meeting in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency. “Now that their young leader has spoken, we have seen what the earthquake is all about. I am happy that the Congress vice-president has learnt to deliver public speeches,” he said.
Modi was talking about Rahul’s claim that if he was allowed to speak in Parliament an earthquake would come, as the government and opposition slugged it out over demonetisation.
February 4, 2017: At a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut, Modi asked the people to rid the state of SCAM — Samajwadi (party), Congress, Akhilesh (Yadav) and Mayawati.
February 7, 2017: The quake remark was back in play. “So, finally, the earthquake has come,” Modi said in the Lok Sabha, referring to the tremors felt in Delhi and parts of north India the previous night as he took another jibe at Rahul.
February 10, 2017: “There is this Congress leader known for his childish acts. If you Google, you will see the number of jokes on him. No other leader is the target of as many jokes as this Congress leader,” Modi said at a poll rally in Bijnor, questioning Akhilesh Yadav’s “wisdom” in joining hands with the Congress for Uttar Pradesh elections.