BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was at the receiving end, replying to barbs from the Congress, National Conference and Trinamool Congress.
As campaigning ended for the seventh phase of polls on Monday, political discourse hit a new low with politicians of all dispositions entering into a slanging match. Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was at the receiving end; replying in like manner to barbs flying thick and fast from the Congress, National Conference and Trinamool Congress (TMC).
While the BJP kept its guns trained on Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s “dubious’’ land deals, the party opened another front by alleging that several Ford Foundation-funded non-government organisations had been part of the Planning Commission and National Advisory Council. “Instead of throwing a challenge at us, the Congress needs to give some answers,’’ BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Maintaining that the allegations against Mr. Vadra had been “conclusively rejected by a division bench of the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court as arising out of ‘oblique political motive’ in Modi-sponsored public interest litigations’’, the Congress, in turn, threw a `hawala racket’ at Mr. Modi. Referring to a ‘hawala racket’ unearthed by the Enforcement Directorate of Ahmedabad and Surat in March, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said Rs. 700 crore was unearthed in raids conducted at the residence of a protégé of Mr. Modi.
In West Bengal – where he campaigned on Sunday – Mr. Modi got an earful from the TMC after he accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of using her connections with the Sharadha chit fund scam-accused to sell her painting for over a crore.
The TMC’s top leadership came out all guns blazing; accusing him of forgetting all political courtesies while indulging in personal attacks. Ms. Banerjee, herself, led the charge; describing Mr. Modi as an “architect of riots’’ whose “gyan’’ (insight) on development is not needed in West Bengal. “If he comes to power, India will plunge into darkness.’’ In response, Mr. Modi turned the “Didi Vs the rest’’ argument of Ms. Banerjee into a “NDA Vs the Congress, Left and Trinamool are all one’’ formulation.
Meanwhile, a parallel war of words was raging on social media between Mr. Modi and the National Conference leadership after Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said Jammu & Kashmir would defect if India becomes “communal” and “Modi voters’’ should drown themselves.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Modi said Dr. Abdullah was trying to cover up his family’s role in ruining J&K. “In the history of our glorious culture, if there is someone who has done most harm to secularism it is you and your family. Due to communal politics of Abdullah family, Kashmiri Pandits were removed from their homes only due to their religion. Is this secularism?’’
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to come to his father’s defence. “If there is one thing Kashmir and Kashmiris don’t need from Modi it’s a lecture on secularism. Kashmir gave the world Kashmiryat and tolerance.’’