Lok Sabha elections 2019: On PM Modi and teleprompter, Rahul Gandhi offers an explanation in Bihar
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi scales up his emphasis on the government’s credentials in promoting national security, Rahul Gandhi on Friday took a sharp swipe at the prime minister for the renewed stress on cross-border action in his election speeches.
“These days, the prime minister talks of surgical strikes where he goes. That is because he doesn’t have anything else to talk about,” Gandhi said at a joint rally with Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav. It was their first joint meeting after Bihar moved into election mode.
Tejashwi Yadav had skipped Rahul Gandhi’s earlier events in the state that triggered speculation about crack in the alliance. Tejashwi, however, insisted that it was a strategic decision; the alliance leaders could cover more ground if they addressed meetings separately.
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The election rally at Samastipur was a departure from this strategy and was high on optics.
But it was a few hours behind schedule because Rahul Gandhi’s plane had to return to Delhi due to an engine problem. When he joined the rally, Gandhi mostly spoke about how his party’s plans for Bihar and the country, particularly the poll promise to launch a scheme that seeks to give the poor ₹72,000 annually.
Gandhi then turned to deliver his attacks at PM Modi.
He told the rally about the two sheets of glass that are sometimes visible during PM Modi’s public rallies.
“Have you seen?... It is a teleprompter. Tejashwiji, have you seen,” Gandhi asked, turning around to his Bihar ally. It wasn’t an attack on PM Modi’s widely-acknowledged oratorical skills.
Rahul Gandhi said the PM had to read his speech because “he gets his orders from above”. He did not clarify who could be scripting his speeches.
“He is told don’t speak on employment, because youth will beat you up. Don’t talk about farmers, farmers are very angry… Speak about the surgical strikes,” Gandhi said.
He also appealed to party workers of the alliance partners work put their best foot forward even when the candidate belongs to a different party, Gandhi said they were contesting the elections together because this election had turned into a battle of ideology and to protect the Constitution and institutions such as the Supreme Court.