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Rahul, Priyanka target Modi, say ‘achche din’ to note ban like DDLJ to Sholay

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Rahul describing the PM’s two-and-a-half year tenure as a retrograde film journey, starting from promises of “achche din” like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) and then turning out to be Gabbar Singh from Sholay who took away people’s hard-earned money.

assembly elections Updated: Feb 17, 2017 22:07 IST
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi with sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at an election rally in Rae Bareli on Friday.(PTI)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, with him accusing the BJP leader of making empty promises and her dubbing him an outsider to Uttar Pradesh.

At an election rally in the party stronghold of Rae Bareli, Rahul invoked two Bollywood movies – The 1995 romantic hit Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) and the 1975 blockbuster Sholay -- to highlight how Modi’s tenure had devastated the poor, especially through the government’s junking of high-value banknotes last November.

“Modi promised everything – a clean India, happy women and farmers’ prosperity. His achhe din promise was like DDLJ. But after 2.5 years, it has become Sholay’s Gabbar,” Rahul said, apparently likening the iconic movie character’s looting spree to the government’s note recall move.

This was the first time the Gandhis have campaigned for the Congress in this election season and launched the party’s fight for assembly segments in their mother Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareli.

The Congress is fighting the UP polls in alliance with the ruling Samajwadi Party, and is up against the Bahujan Samaj Party and the BJP, whose campaign has been led by Modi.

The duo targeted the PM – who called himself UP’s adopted son on Thursday – with Priyanka saying the state didn’t need an “outsider”.

“Both Rahul and Akhilesh are the sons of this soil. Ask the people of Varanasi if Modi had done anything for them” she told a large crowd at another rally at Baburiha village of Bachhrawan assembly.

She also hit out at Modi over the hardships faced by women during the so-called demonetisation exercise over the past three months.

“Whenever he (Modi) comes, he refers to relationships. I want to say this on behalf of crores of women: There is no need to establish any relations. You are a woman. I am also a woman. You were made to stand in queues. Are these not atrocities on women?” Priyanka said.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra greets her supporters at a rally in Rae Bareli on Friday, February 17, 2017. (HT Photo)

“Modi should learn from former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. As PM you can do a lot for development.” She clapped her hands once to emphasise how the PM ordered the withdrawal of banknotes.

The 45-year-old had refrained from speaking at the first meeting at Rae Bareli – where the party candidate is the daughter of a former Congress member expelled for criminal charges -- but relented on popular demand during the second rally.

Rahul’s Bollywood-laced remarks came a day after the PM criticised the SP-Congress alliance.

At an election rally, the PM said the Congress’ earlier slogan was “27 saal UP behaal” that criticised the SP’s tenure. “But what happened, aa gale lag ja (you embraced)” said the PM.

At Rae Bareli, Rahul blamed the PM for widespread hardships of the poor and not keeping his promises but steered clear of mentioning the four seats in his Lok Sabha constituency of Amethi, where the SP is facing the Congress.

The Congress V-P said Modi forged relationships wherever he went but didn’t understand that relationships weren’t about words.

“When he reached Varanasi, the PM made a lot many promises: I am a son of Varanasi. Ganga is my mother. A son promised to clean the Ganga, to provide drinking water to every house, ring road and a Bhojpuri film city. But a relationship is not made by words, one has to live a relationship,” said Rahul.

Rahul said the media was afraid of Modi and did not highlight his failures. “Take a camera to Varanasi and find about the promises the PM made in Varanasi. How many of these promises have been fulfilled?” Rahul asked.

“Did the Ganga get clean, did he make the ring road or the Bhojpuri film city?”

First Published: Feb 17, 2017 19:31 IST