The softness shown to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi at his first rally in Pathankot on Friday surprised those who expected fireworks. The picture became clear at Modi’s fifth and last rally of the day at Amritsar, when the Prime Minister’s half brother, Daljit Singh, walked onto the stage to get a warm hug from Modi.
Finally, he could bring a Congress bigwig’s family member into the Parivar. From Pathankot to Hoshiarpur to Ludhiana and then to Bathinda, Modi refrained from making any personal comments against the PM who, otherwise, is his and his colleagues’ favourite target.
The reasons for this restraint initially confused even some of his own party men, but at the end of the day, it was Modi who said the last word — with a big smile — when he staged the coup by having the PM’s half brother by his side.
Modi showed restraint as he probably did not want to annoy Daljeet Singh, who was waiting to shake hands with the BJP’s poster boy in Amritsar. Na Mo probably had been briefed in advance of the ‘prize catch’ at Amritsar, the home town of Manmohan Singh.
In Pathankot, Modi held the ‘maa-beta’ (Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son party vice president Rahul Gandhi) for “ruining the country and taking it to the brink of disaster”.
Referring to a book written by the PM’s media advisor, Sanjaya Baru, Modi said, “We used to curse and blame the PM every time. But the truth was that it was the ‘maa-beta’ combination, which was responsible for the UPA’s misrule.”
In Hoshiarpur, Modi did call the PM a “cheat”, but only for Singh’s inability to do much for the development of Punjab and its people. Modi did not level any charges of corruption against the Prime Minister during his rallies though he did call the UPA government corrupt.
Though the entry of Daljit Singh will not help Arun Jaitley, the BJP candidate in Amritsar, but the saffron party can definitely claim to have scored a moral victory over the Congress.
Though Daljit Singh has never muddled in politics, the SAD-BJP alliance will ensure his presence in Jaitley’s rallies over the next two days. A senior BJP leader said, “In such a tight contest, anyone or everything is welcome for us.”
Both the Prime Minister and the Congress must be embarrassed considering the wide coverage given to the event by the media on Saturday.
The Akali and BJP leaders in Amritsar had been claiming for quite some time that they would be dropping a ‘bomb shell’ on the day Modi comes to Amritsar and they kept their promise.