Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday for promoting “dynastic rule” as political parties wrapped up campaigning for this week’s crucial assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.
With no local face in Maharashtra which has 288 seats and Haryana which has 90 seats, the BJP banked heavily on Modi to campaign for Wednesday’s elections which are a test of popularity for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after its spectacular win in the Lok Sabha election five months ago. Counting of votes is on Sunday.
Modi addressed over 30 rallies in the two states, 20 of them in Maharashtra where it is slugging it out in a five-cornered battle after it decided to call off its 25-year-old alliance with the Shiv Sena.
In Haryana, the main contest is between the ruling Congress, a resurgent opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Their (Congress-NCP) leaders have made it a feudal set-up. The father comes to power and asks his children to take care of a few districts. If the fate of Konkan and Sindhudurg has to change, then ensure that the BJP government comes to power,” Modi said during a rally at Kankavli in Konkan region, a traditional Congress stronghold.
"Will you wipe out thieves and robbers in this election? Maharashtra should be freed from the clutches of dynastic rule."
In Maharastra, Modi avoided any criticism of the Shiv Sena, but took on the opposition over dynastic politics and corruption. He came down heavily on both the Congress and NCP, saying
they were highly corrupt and had looted the state for the last 15 years.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar, a former deputy chief minister, is a prime contender for chief ministership if the party is voted to power.
Modi said for the first time in 30 years there was a government at the Centre with an absolute majority and asked the electorate to give the BJP a clear majority in Maharashtra for good governance.
The Congress, which has ruled the state with ally NCP for 15 years, faces defeat on the same anti-incumbency wave that toppled it from power in the general election but retains pockets of support.
While campaigning in Haryana, Modi hit out at the Congress government and the Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD for running the state like a "family fiefdom” and said the BJP would propel the state on the path of development.
In what is being touted as chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's toughest battle yet, the Congress is fast losing ground in the state. The party has 41 MLAs in the current assembly, while the INLD has 34 and the BJP which is going out of its way to leave a mark in these elections has just four legislators.