Rahul Gandhi’s comments that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had informed him that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI) was tapping Muslim youth in riothit Muzaffarnagar provided Narendra Modi with ample fodder at a rally in Jhansi on Friday.
BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi addressing an election rally in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. (ANI Photo)
In a speech that largely focused on the Congress vice-president, Modi demanded that Rahul either name the Muslim youths or publicly apologise for his statement.
“One should think many times before making such a wild accusation. Shahzade (prince), you should extend a public apology,” said Modi, surprising many with his pro-Muslim tilt at his first public rally in Bundelkhand.
Modi wanted to know why intelligence agencies were sharing crucial inputs with a member of Parliament who wasn’t part of the government. “In what capacity is an MP entitled to such privilege,” he asked.
The Congress was quick to defend Rahul. “Rahul Gandhi acted as a responsible political leader in speaking the truth and warning people to be cautious of those who seek to divide the country by taking advantage of communal riots,” party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
In his continuing attack on Rahul, Modi targeted his comment that the BJP practised the politics of hate: “He felt anger on his dadi’s (grandmother) killing. Isn’t it true that the same anger was directed at innocent Sikhs? Thousands of them were burnt alive… did he ever feel the same pain or anger for innocent Sikhs killed by his partymen?”
Modi blamed the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party for the problems in the part of Bundelkhand that falls in UP. “You have given the Congress 60 years, try us for 60 months. From half a roti, they’ve come to a full roti in 60 years. To feed you well, they will take another hundred years. Do you want to wait?” he said, again taking a swipe at Rahul’s roti comments made the previous day.