With #rallies, Rahul Gandhi jabs at PM Modi’s West Bengal poll campaigns

Published on Apr 18, 2021 11:14 AM IST

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the large crowd at his rally in Asansol as he recalled the last time he came to the industrial town to ask for votes.

Rahul Gandhi’s tweet also came on a day India reported a record daily increase of 261,500 coronavirus disease cases. (ANI Photo)
Rahul Gandhi’s tweet also came on a day India reported a record daily increase of 261,500 coronavirus disease cases. (ANI Photo)
By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other political leaders for their poll rallies during the West Bengal assembly elections, which are being held in eight phases. "This is also the first time when such huge crowds of sick people and a record number of deaths have been seen,” Rahul Gandhi tweet, roughly translated from Hindi, read. He also added a hashtag #rallies. 

On Saturday, Prime Minister Modi praised the large crowd at his rally in Asansol as he recalled the last time he came to the industrial town to ask for votes. “I want to register a complaint against you today. Just hear out my complaint. I have come here twice during the Lok Sabha elections. When I was becoming the Prime Minister and sought your vote. Last time, I came here to seek votes for Babulji (Union minister Babul Supriyo). The first time I came to ask for your votes for myself. But the crowd was only a quarter of this size. But today, I see huge crowds of people in all directions... Today, you have shown your power and I can see a wave of people everywhere I see,” he said.

Before Gandhi’s tweet, his party posted a two minute-38 second video on Saturday criticising Prime Minister Modi for addressing rallies during the raging coronavirus pandemic. “The fact is, to Star Campaigner Narendra Modi, Indians are nothing more than the votes they can give him,” the Congress said in the tweeted. The voiceover in the video said, “Modiji is prioritising his campaigning during pandemic is like Nero fiddling while Rome burned. India is literally burning, bodies are piling up in crematoriums, doctors, vaccines, oxygen, ICU beds, medicines are running out."

Experts have highlighted the health risks of public meetings as massive crowds have been seen at West Bengal assembly election rallies by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, and the ruling Trinamool Congress where people have flouted social distancing and mask rules.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) last week wrote to all recognised state and national political parties and warned them it might ban rallies and meetings if Covid-19 guidelines were not followed during the remaining phases of elections in West Bengal. The commission also disallowed campaigning between 7pm and 10am and increased the silence period to 72 hours from the usual 48, for all the remaining phases of the West Bengal Assembly Election 2021.

The poll body issued Covid-19 protocols to reduce transmission when it announced the dates for the assembly polls to four states and one Union territory in February. Compulsory masking, distancing, limiting maximum number of people in rallies and vehicles in convoys, and thermal checking of temperature to identify symptomatic people were among them.

On its part, the BJP said on Saturday it was taking measures to ensure social distancing and use of masks. Its information technology cell chief, Amit Malviya, tweeted,”Social distancing and masks across Prime Minister Modi’s rallies in Bengal…”

Rahul Gandhi’s tweet also came on a day India reported a record daily increase of 261,500 coronavirus disease cases, health ministry data showed on Sunday, which have pushed the country’s tally to nearly 14.8 million. India is second only to the United States, which has reported more than 31 million Covid-19 cases. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 1,501 to reach a total of 177,150, the data showed.

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