Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘Because I am a backward’: PM Modi’s counter to Rahul Gandhi jibe over name
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hit back at Congress president Rahul Gandhi over ‘chowkidar chor hai’ (watchman is a thief) campaign saying that he is being targeted “because of my backward caste” background.Updated: Apr 17, 2019 14:49 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack at Rahul Gandhi at his Maharashtra rally on Wednesday, accusing the Congress president of targeting him and his community because he was from a backward community. “I have been abused many times by the Congress and its allies… but this time they branded the entire backward community as thieves,” PM Modi said.
It was a counter to Rahul Gandhi’s recent attack, also delivered at a Maharashtra rally, where he asked people why “all thieves have Modi in their names”. Gandhi listed fugitive businessman Nirav Modi and former cricket administrator Lalit Modi as two examples and wondered “how many more such Modis will come out”.
PM Modi said it was a reflection of how the opposition looked at the backward classes.
“Recently the naamdar (a reference used by the PM for Gandhi) branded an entire community as thief. He says everyone having Modi in his name is a thief. They abuse me because I am from backward community. This is how they view people from backward castes.”
The prime minister was speaking at Akluj in Solapur district of Maharashtra that is part of the Madha Lok Sabha constituency. The sitting MP from the seat and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader, Vijaysinh Mohite–Patil shared dias with PM Modi.
Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil’s son Ranjitsinh recently joined the BJP after the NCP refused ticket for the Lok Sabha elections. At the rally, PM Modi targeted NCP chief Sharad Pawar saying, “Sharad Rao attacked me over my family…You can’t walk the path as Modi…Your model is a particular family of Delhi, you learn from them and follow them.”
PM Modi was initially expected to address the election rally at Baramati in Pune, from where Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule is in the field. However, the plan was reworked and PM Modi addressed his public rally in Solapur.
Baramati is Pawar’s home turf and has been an NCP bastion for decades. The NCP chief was a six-term MP from this seat till 2009, when he vacated it for his daughter Supriya Sule, who is looking for a third consecutive win from Baramati.
At his rally, PM Modi took a dig at Sharad Pawar for deciding not to contest the Lok Sabha polls. He said, “Now I know why Sharad Rao ran away from the battleground…Sharad Rao is a smart player. He gauges which way the wind is blowing. He never does anything which may harm him or his family even if someone else is made a scapegoat.”
The prime minister said this is the first time that people are campaigning to bring back the government to power. People are campaigning on their own to bring Modi back, to give the reins of the country to Modi again,” he said.
Kanchan Kul o f the BJP is contesting against Sule. She is the wife of Maharashtra legislator Rahul Kul of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), one of the BJP allies in the state.
The BJP expects Kul to give a tough fight to Sule. In 2014, RSP chief Mahadev Jankar had contested against Sule and lost by a margin of nearly 70,000 votes.
First Published: Apr 17, 2019 11:55 IST