Mumbai: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress kept up the tempo of the campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacking the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) at a public meeting in Ahmednagar in western Maharashtra and Congress president Rahul Gandhi taking a veiled dig at Modi’s radio talk programme during his rallies in Tamil Nadu.
In Ahmednagar, Modi attacked NCP chief Sharad Pawar for supporting the Congress and the National Conference. “People have no expectations from the Congress. But what has happened to you Sharad (Pawar)? Since you are standing with the Congress, have you also started looking at the nation from a foreigner’s glasses?" asked Modi , who has singled out Pawar for sharp attacks in all his recent rallies in Maharashtra.
The Prime Minister asked Pawar to make his position clear on National Conference’s stand on a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir and the party chief Farooq Abdullah’s statement that the state would secede if Article 370 was scrapped.
Terror attacks and bomb blasts had become a routine affair in major cities during the United Progressive Alliance government in the centre, of which the NCP was a part, and the Congress-NCP rule in Maharashtra, Modi said.
“Where have those bomb blasts gone? They are not taking place now because this ‘chowkidar’ has struck terror in the hearts of terrorists that he would hunt them down," Modi said. Gandhi, meanwhile, said his party’s manifesto was not the “Mann Ki Baat of one megalomaniac" but talked about work of the nation at his election rallies in Krishnagiri, Salem, Theni, and Madurai. He invoked Tamil pride in his rallies and assured the people that his party listens to them.
The Congress president accused Modi of not having the “decency", to listen to Tamil Nadu’s farmers when they protested in Delhi in 2017 and said he, however, had met them. “We will make it illegal to put any farmer in jail for default on loan," he said.
Gandhi said the BJP had obviously have not read the history of the Tamil people. “They don’t understand Periyar, Karunanidhi and Kamaraj," he said. The Congress president claimed that demonetisation and the goods and services tax had destroyed the small and medium industries in Tamil Nadu and 30,000 MSMEs had to shut down and “50 lakh jobs were lost". “We are going to defeat Modi in the coming election and after a while (DMK president M.K.) Stalin is going to be the CM of Tamil Nadu as well," he said.
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