In his most trenchant attack on Rahul Gandhi since being named the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi Friday tore into the recent claims and comments by the Congress vice-president - questioning his sympathy for victims of communal riots, his empathy for the poor and his strategy of playing up the contribution of his family.
The Gujarat Chief Minister also directly sought votes for himself, the first time he was doing so at a public rally since being named the party’s PM candidate last month.
Addressing a well-attended BJP rally, Modi launched into Rahul by taking a dig at his recent attempts to strike an emotional chord with voters by recounting the assassination of his father and grandmother.
“I have not come here to wail before you. I have not come here either to shed tears or tell stories to get you to shed tears. I am here to take you into confidence, to wipe your tears,” Modi told the audience in Bundelkhand, the poorest region of Uttar Pradesh.
The underdevelopment of the region, he said, was due to a lack of political will in the governments in Delhi and Lucknow.
“The Congress reminds about goodies and packages before elections,” Modi said referring to Rahul’s promise of a package for Bundelkhand around the time of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. “That package was not for your welfare but was crumbs to silence the then leaders from UP. It was shared between Delhi and Lucknow.”
“The time for packages is over. The time has come to send the SP-BSP-Congress packing,” Modi said, dismissing Rahul’s grandstanding in Bundelkhand for delivering on his promise of a package for the backward region.
Modi turned Rahul’s attempt to strike an emotional chord by recounting the assassination of his grandmother Indira Gandhi over its head to rebuff the Congress vice-president for accusing the BJP of fanning communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 and in Muzaffarnagar last month.
Referring to the anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, Modi said Rahul’s utterances are “unpardonable” because they have added “insult to the injury” of Sikhs.
“I heard him speaking about the anger over the assassination of his grandmother. All Congressmen felt angry and isn’t it true that they burnt thousands of Sikhs? I want to ask shehzada whether he felt the same anger over the killing of thousands of Sikhs,” Modi