Turning soft on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and taking on “maa-beta” instead, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday played it safe during his rallies in Punjab.
“We used to curse and blame PM Manmohan Singh every time but the truth is it’s the ‘maa-beta’ – Sonia and Rahul Gandhi — who were responsible for the UPA’s misrule,” Modi said while referring to former media adviser to PM, Sanjaya Baru’s book The accidental Prime Minister: The making and unmaking of Manmohan Singh.
Modi’s stand was quite in contrast to his earlier statements when he held the PM equally responsible for the ‘anarchy’ prevailing in the country.
“Sonia Gandhi has ruined the country in her ambition to see Rahul as the PM. Over the past 10 years, she has only worked on that and spoiled the future of crores of youth,” Modi said.
Accompanied by Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, Modi held five back-to-back rallies in the state where his party, in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), is in power and battling anti-incumbency for seven years. While there has been no apparent sign of any ‘Modi wave’ in Punjab so far, the turnout in most of his rallies was impressive. Three of these rallies were held in constituencies where the candidates are from the BJP.
The common thread running through his speeches was the attack on the Congress top leadership, but he also spoke on issues ranging from farmers and defence personnel to development and drugs. While he also raked up the issue of foreign bank accounts of former CM Amarinder Singh of the Congress, the BJP leader tried to hard-sell party candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley, (who is Amarinder’s opponent there) to the voters by giving him credit for the successful development model of his (Modi’s) home state Gujarat.