Lok Sabha elections 2019: Barbs fly at poll rallies in Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh
Days before Lok Sabha elections kick off, Congress president Rahul Gandhi led the offensive against the Narendra Modi-led government, saying that the general election, starting April 11, is a “battle of two ideologies”.
On one side, the Bharatiya Janata Party- Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh want to “divide the nation” and on the other is the ideology of the Congress, which “believes that everyone should be treated with fairness”, the Congress chief said while addressing a rally in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar on Saturday.
Attacking the government over the saffron party’s politics, he said: “Aadivasis (tribals), Dalits and minorities are beaten and oppressed. This country belongs to everyone, and everyone has the right to live peacefully. Hindu dharma doesn’t teach us about hatred.”
The Congress president also reiterated allegations that Prime Minister Modi had driven out his “guru” and veteran leader LK Advani out of the party. One of the founding members of the BJP, Advani has not been fielded by the party in the upcoming polls.
As the political slugfest continued, PM Modi -- addressing a poll rally in Balod district of Chhattisgarh – said the “naamadar” (dynast) of the Congress party had to run away to find a “safe” seat. The PM was apparently referring to Gandhi, who is contesting Lok Sabha elections from two seats: Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi and Kerala’s Wayanad.
On Centre’s stand against terrorism, Modi added, “Didn’t you feel proud when the country punished perpetrators of terror”. The Congress and its allies were contesting the Lok Sabha elections to “give a free hand to terrorists and separatists” while the BJP was in the fray to “punish terrorists and separatists for their sins”, he said.
“Calling the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act a “suraksha kavach” (armour) of the armed forces, Modi also slammed the Congress over its manifesto that promised to review the act.
“Do you want a government of chowkidar or a procession of corrupt,” the PM asked the gathering. Modi has often referred to himself as the ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) who is protecting the country’s interests.
Gandhi countered the BJP’s attack that the Congress manifesto was disrespectful towards the armed forces and said, “If a CRPF soldier is martyred, then he does not get martyr status. We have clearly written in the party’s manifesto that if the paramilitary personnel are killed, they would be given martyr status.”