PM Narendra Modi likens Rahul Gandhi's elevation to Aurangzeb rule

Topics Rahul Gandhi

Narendra Modi in Gujarat
In his speeches in Gujarat on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued his attack on the lack of internal democracy in the Congress, even as Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers for elections to the Congress president.

In Dharampur, the PM said the elevation of the “yuvaraj”, or prince, was akin to the dynastic succession in the Mughal dynasty. “Mani Shankar Aiyar, who was a minister in the Congress government, has said ‘did elections happen during Mughal rule? After Jehangir, Shah Jehan came, was any election held? After Shah Jehan it was understood that Aurangzeb would be the leader’. Does the Congress accept that it is a one-family party? We don’t want this Aurangzebi Raaj (Aurangzeb’s rule) … For us, the country comes first, 125 crore (1.25 billion) people of this country are our high-command.”

The BJP in Gujarat has built a narrative around how a Congress rule in the state would be a return of “Mughal or Muslim rule”, and has given the slogan of HAJ (Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor, Jigensh Mevani) versus RAM (Vijay Rupani, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi).

The PM in his public rally said the Congress has abandoned “public modesty” by elevating to the post of party president a person who is out on bail in a graft case, apparently referring to the National Herald case.

In Dharampur, and also later at a rally in Bhavnagar, the PM reminded the people how Congress was wiped out in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and would soon be wiped out in Himachal Pradesh, too. He said the Gandhi dynasty kept Uttar Pradesh, which sent its members to the prime ministerial chair, poor and backward. He also repeatedly brought up the issue of ‘Gujarati asmita’, or pride, and how the Congress top leadership insulted Gujaratis, including Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Morarji Desai. He said a Congress government would derail the development done in Gujarat. “Will you allow that to happen? Will you stop the journey of development in Gujarat?” Modi asked the audience.

He said Kapil Sibal, who was a powerful minister in 2007 in the UPA government, had then said that Modi, the then chief minister, would be in jail after losing the election. The PM said now was the time to teach the Congress a lesson.

Modi also took potshots at Rahul Gandhi over his frequent visit to temples during the poll campaign. “In earlier days, there used to be a competition to show how secular they are. If one says that I am secular, the other will say he is four kg more secular, a third will say he is six kg more secular and a fourth would claim he is 10 kg more secular. But what is the competition for before 2017 (Gujarat) polls? After 70 years where all they have to go to?”  

He said the people of Gujarat were not fools and would see through the “deception” (of visiting temples for Hindu votes).

“If you remember 2002, 2007, 2012 (polls), all Congress leaders would brand us as communal and anti-Muslim. But before the 2017 polls, no leader is saying that BJP is communal. This means the Congress has also accepted that the abuse they were hurling against the BJP was false and was meant for vote bank politics,” he said.

Accused of trying to stoke Patidar and Kshatriya divide in an earlier speech in the state, the PM on Monday tried to smoothen ruffled feathers. In Bhavnagar, he spoke of the unity between the two communities. Modi said demonetisation hurt the Congress, but not honest common people of the country.

He listed the several projects carried out by the BJP government in Gujarat and at Centre. Modi reminded the gathering at both the places how he was one of their own who has reached the prime ministerial chair, and knows 100-200 people by name or has had familial links.

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