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Final frenzy across India

india Updated: Apr 12, 2009 01:20 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times
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Three days before campaigning ends for 124 Lok Sabha seats spread over eleven states, political party leaders have started to spew fire and brimstone at one another.

“Do I look old to you?” Priyanka Gandhi asked at a rally in Amethi on Saturday. She was reacting to a statement by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

At an election rally in Uttar Pradesh on Friday, Modi had hit out at the Congress by describing it as a 125-year-old “budhia” (old woman) which could not work for the development of the country.

Modi’s remarks have also drawn a caustic comment from Congress leader Kapil Sibal. “The entire world has watched Modi’s youth during the shameful riots of Gujarat in 2002,” he said.

At a rally in Kochi, PM Manmohan Singh spouted vitriol against the Left. “The communists have often been on the wrong side of history,” he said.

Pointing that the Left leaders had not participated in the Quit India movement of 1942, he said the Left decision to prop up a Third Front government would lead to a split in secular votes and eventually help the BJP.

CPI leader D. Raja sought to “return the compliment” by alleging Singh was moving towards the “Right”. “He never realised we were on the wrong side of history for four and a half years when we supported his government,” Raja said.

At a rally in Khunti, Jhar-khand, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi hit out against the BJP, without actually naming the party. Warning people to guard against “people wearing the mask of patriotism”, she emphasised “such forces are against the prosperity of the country”.

In an interview to a news channel, BJP leader L.K. Advani reiterated, “The PM had voluntarily abdicated authority of the office he holds.” Arun Jaitley accused the PM of indulging in “hit and run” tactics. He was reacting to Singh’s comment that Advani’s only contribution was that he “watched the Babri Masjid being demolished”.