PM Modi. Photo: PTI
PM Modi. Photo: PTI

BJP, Congress trade barbs over AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam

Last day of campaigning saw both parties raising the allegation pitch against each other

Hyderabad/New Delhi: Campaigning in Rajasthan and Telangana ended on Wednesday with both the national parties—the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress—as well as regional parties making a final push before assembly elections. The last day of campaigning in Rajasthan was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who made allegations of corruption against the Congress leadership a key poll plank.

During his day-long campaign, Modi spoke about how the Union government succeeded in bringing Christian Michel, an accused in the AgustaWestland case, to India.

“The accused in the helicopter case has been brought from Dubai by the government. Now, the accused will provide information, we do not know how far will this issue go and who will be named," said Modi at a public meeting in Sumerpur.

While blaming the Congress for the lack of development in the country in general and particularly in Rajasthan, Modi said that instead of questioning the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on development for the last four years, it was the responsibility of the Congress party to give an explanation to the people on the lack of development work in the last 70 years.

He also alleged that relatives of “naamdaar", the word he uses to refer to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, bought land from farmers at throwaway prices due to prior information provided by the then Congress-led Union government.

The Congress party in turn attacked Modi, with its chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala saying that facing “imminent defeat" in the state polls, the BJP was “weaving a web of lies" and constructing a “mesh of deception to hoodwink" the people in the chopper case.

Meanwhile, Gandhi spent the last day campaigning in Telangana. Gandhi held a joint press conference with his alliance partner, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi said at an election rally that Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao was working in tandem with the BJP.

In another development, the police superintendent of Telangana’s Vikarabad district, T. Annapurna, was transferred with immediate effect on Wednesday, a day after she took Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee working president A. Revanth Reddy into preventive custody after he tried to disrupt a public meeting.

Reddy had given a bandh call on 4 December at Kodangal, which is also the seat from which he is contesting in the forthcoming polls, to disrupt a meeting which was to be addressed by CM Rao. The police however took him into custody after picking him up from his home at 3am. The Congress and other opposition parties objected to the detention and have approached Rajat Kumar, chief electoral officer, Telangana, on the issue.