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Updated: May 1, 2014 23:21 IST

BJP lowered the level of debate, not me: Priyanka

Varghese K. George
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Priyanka Vadra breaks away from her SPG cordon to meet people at a village in Amethi on Thursday.
PTI Priyanka Vadra breaks away from her SPG cordon to meet people at a village in Amethi on Thursday.

Harps on Rajiv’s legacy during hectic campaigning in Amethi

It is the BJP, and not she, which has lowered the level of political debate in the country, said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, responding to BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s charge.

“You tell me, who lowered the political debate in the country? I or the BJP?” Ms. Vadra asked The Hindu while campaigning for her brother and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

She had earlier said the BJP was running like spooked rats, to which Mr. Jaitley retaliated that she was lowering the level of the debate.

Ms. Vadra’s campaign in the constituencies of Amethi and nearby Rae Bareli, where her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi is the candidate, has raised the decibel of the war of words between the party’s and the BJP. Keeping the pitch high, Ms. Vadra dismissed BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s reported statement that she was like his daughter. (A media report had quoted Mr. Modi as having made such a statement, while the actual statement he made was that she spoke as a daughter about her family — her mother and brother — and that he had no complaints). “I am the daughter of Rajiv Gandhi,” she said when asked for her response to Mr. Modi’s remark.

The late Gandhi’s legacy was Ms. Vadra’s key talking point as she criss-crossed the hinterland of Amethi on Thursday. Sensing that bad roads were the main source of discontentment among the public everywhere she went, Ms. Vadra explained the limitations of the Central government in road building. “But Rahulji has managed to build more roads than anyone else,” she said. “My family is indebted to you people. You have made us. And we love you people. As a child I saw how much Rajivji loved you. And I know how much Soniaji and Rahulji love you,” she said.

Making numerous unscheduled stops through the journey, and keeping the special protection group (SPG) personnel away, Ms Vadra sought to reach out to people. At one stop, she wished a newly married couple, worshipped at a temple at another and elsewhere followed a mentally disabled child who wanted her to visit his home. At the hamlet a few hundred metres away from the road, she asked a gathering largely of women, “Do you know Rahulji?” When they said “Yes” she said: “He is my elder brother. Please vote for him.”

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