A courtier has responded: PM Modi’s comeback to Chidambaram’s jab
In his 45-minute speech, PM Narendra Modi accused the Congress of hindering Chhattigarh’s development.Updated: Nov 18, 2018, 17:05 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday continued to hurl barbs at the Congress during his election speech in Chhattisgarh, accusing the party of pursuing the interests of one family and neglecting the interests of the nation. In attacks that targeted Congress president, PM Modi had earlier this week dared to choose someone from outside the Gandhi family as its president for five years if the party was really democratic.
“One of the family’s courtiers has come out with a list (of party presidents from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family),” PM Modi said, an oblique reference to former union finance minister P Chidambaram’s string of tweets on the names yesterday.
In these, Chidambaram had taken a swipe at PM Modi for being concerned about the Congress president and asked him to spend some time about issues such as Rafale, CBI and the tug of war with the central bank as well. He also put out a list of 14 politicians who had been Congress president since 1947.
PM Modi picked out one name to renew his attack.
“The country knows that Sitaram Kesri, a Dalit, was not allowed to complete his five-year-term as Congress president; he was thrown out of office and onto the footpath to make way for madam Sonia Gandhi as the new party chief,” PM Modi said at an election meeting in Chhattisgarh’s Mahasamund district hours before campaigning ends.
PM Modi’s stress on the Congress and accusations of the party’s dynastic politics in his election speeches is seen as an attempt to blunt Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the BJP government’s track record in Chhattisgarh. Chief Minister Raman Singh, the state’s three-time chief minister, has been in power for 15 years and is fighting for a fourth win.
Modi’s pitch has particularly targeted Chhattisgarh’s young, aspirational voters. He asked them to support BJP over the Congress because this wasn’t just an election to elect a legislator. It is much bigger than that, he reasoned.
He also appeared to offer an explanation why the state was still a laggard.
“The first 10 years of Raman Singh government were spent fighting the negative forces. The remote-controlled government in Delhi did not allow Raman Singh to work for his state. It was only after 2014 that he could work to bring in development in the state,” he said, according to news agency PTI.
“Do you want to give an opportunity to people who ruined the lives of earlier generations of the state?” asked Modi, warning the people against voting for the Congress. The BJP, he said, was the answer for Chhattisgarh’s progress.
Referring to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s pledge to waive farm loans if his party came to power in the state, Modi said the Congress’ days of getting votes by “lying and misleading people” were over.
“It has been almost a year since your party came to power in Karnataka but what happened to your promise of waiving loans of farmers?”
The Prime Minister denied that his government waived Rs 3.5 lakh crore of corporate loans of a handful of industrialists.
“It is them who gave out indiscriminate loans and allowed the banks to be looted. Between 2006 and 2014 they gave out loans equal to the amount that was given after independence till 2006. It is our government which dared to enact tough laws and seized billions of rupee worth of properties of the fraudsters who have absconded.”