Extends support to his party’s seven candidates in Delhi

From a park abutting unauthorised colonies in Delhi’s Seelampur area, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for a “Congress-free India” and extended his support to the party’s seven Lok Sabha candidates fielded here.

Mr. Modi, addressing his third public rally of the day, urged the crowd to “banish once and for all from politics those who have repeatedly betrayed them” referring to the Congress party. He was speaking from an Assembly segment that falls under the North East Delhi parliamentary constituency and has had a three-time Congress MLA Mateen Ahmed and former Delhi Congress head J. P. Agarwal as the two-time sitting MP.

Taking a shot at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his “brainchild” of selecting candidates through primaries, Mr. Modi said the decision to replace the party’s candidate against him in Vadodara, who was elected through primaries, was done because he was a Dalit. “Is being Dalit a sin? The shehzada will have to answer this question..?” he said.

On a day that the Congress released its election manifesto, Mr. Modi said that “it looks like just another way to poke fun at people” and the party has fulfilled only a few of its promises in earlier years. He alleged that the manifesto was full of promises that had been made previously during the 2004 and 2009 elections but were not implemented.

With Aam Aadmi Party targeting him, Mr. Modi claimed that the upcoming elections are unique in that political parties are coming together to prevent him from coming to power. “There have been elections in the past where the Opposition parties come together to defeat the government. But this is the first election in which alliances are being built to prevent Modi from coming to power,” he said. He alleged that the AAP lacked commitment to democratic values with its only aim being to help Congress and not the country.

In his 23 minute speech, he projected confidence in forming the next government, and said political pundits and people from every corner of the country are unanimous on who is going to come to power. After his speech, senior Delhi BJP leader V. K. Malhotra said a special bullet-proof enclosure was made for Mr. Modi but he chose not to use it and spoke from where other speakers did.

All seven BJP candidates addressed the crowd and appealed to them to press the button next to the ‘lotus’ symbol on the polling day.