Questioning the lack of internal democracy in the Congress party, which is in the process of electing Rahul Gandhi as national president, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised the “bravery” of Maharashtra Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla, who had termed the election as “a selection and sham election process.”
Campaigning in Gujarat where the Congress vice-president is leading the opposition efforts, Mr. Modi accused the Congress of muzzling the voice of Mr. Poonawalla and said, “Those who lack internal democracy cannot work for the country.”
“A youngster Shehzad has exposed the rigging that is taking place in the Congress president poll. He is a senior Congress leader in Maharashtra and the Congress has tried to muzzle his voice and wants to remove him from his position,” Mr. Modi said, asking the people “what tolerance is this.”
Mr. Modi questioned the legitimacy of the Congress as a political party and accused it of always subverting internal democracy and suppressing those who raise questions against its dynastic nature and system.
“The Congress during its regimes made the country a prison, and media had to seek permission of Indiraji before printing something. So what the youngster Shehzad is saying it not unusual but it’s Congress culture,” he said.
Immediately after Mr. Modi’s lauded his rebellion, Mr. Poonawalla tweeted his thanks and said he had sought time from Mr. Gandhi to submit the proof of rigging in the election process.
The Prime Minister also attacked the Congress for playing “vote bank politics” to divide society so as to seek power.
In a message to the Gujarat electorate, Mr Modi slammed the opposition party and warned the people not to fall prey to its trap of casteism.
The Prime Minister’s repeated message is apparently prompted by the agitation by the powerful Patidar community, on warpath over the issue of reservations and decision of the popular Patidar leader Hardik Patel to throw in his lot with the Congress.
Mr Modi has so far addressed 11 public rallies in Saurashtra and South Gujarat where voting will be held in the first phase on December 9. On Monday he is scheduled to address four rallies.