Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a salvo at the Congress for being anti-poor and alleged that the party’s leaders have always treated him with contempt because of his humble background.
“The Congress dislikes me because of my poor origins. Can a party stoop so low? Yes, a person belonging to a poor family has become PM. They do not fail to hide their contempt for this fact. Yes, I sold tea but I did not sell the nation+ ,” PM Modi said at a campaign rally in Gujarat’s Rajkot.
The Prime Minister’s riposte comes days after the Congress party’s youth wing ‘Yuva Desh’ tweeted a meme lampooning Modi’s beginnings as a tea vendor. The image shows PM Modi, US President Donald Trump and UK PM Theresa May deep in conversation, when the Indian leader is shown to commit the faux pas of pronouncing the word ‘meme’ as ‘may-may.’
The tweet did not go down well and was roundly condemned by politicians and the plebiscite as a derogatory attack on the PM.
Alluding indirectly to this controversy today, PM Modi said that in the last two months, Congress leaders have resorted to hurling abuses and spreading lies about their opponents to score political points. He appealed to the party to not mock the poor and insult the “son of Gujarat” who does not have a single blot on his political career.
“This son of Gujarat has no stains in his public life. You (opposition) dare to come to Gujarat and say things against the son of Gujarat? Will any Gujarati forgive people who make charges against the son of Gujarat? No Gujarati will endure this insult,” he declared.
Stepping up his attack on the Congress, PM Modi charged that the party “cannot think beyond one family” and has consistently sidelined Gujarat and its leaders, keeping them out of the national politics.
“Congress has not just insulted Sardar Patel. Congress ignored Morarji Desai because he was from Gujarat. How many people remember Kamaraj or Debharbhai, who were presidents of Congress nationally. The party that does not go beyond one family, what do you expect from them?” he said.
PM Modi then said the election in his home state is a contest between trust on development and dynastic politics.
“The solution to all problems is development. We have served Gujarat without any discrimination. Our belief is in the Mantra of ‘Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas’. We want to work even more for the people of Gujarat,” he said.
“Pitting one caste against the other is Congress’ tendency. Make sure that you do not let them destroy the composite culture of Gujarat,” he said.