PM Modi, INDIA bloc leaders trade barbs, cross swords in Mumbai

PM Modi said he has a 10-year report card and a 25-year roadmap; INDIA bloc hit back with Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray saying India will be ‘deModified’ on June 4

Updated - May 18, 2024 06:33 am IST

Published - May 17, 2024 10:35 pm IST - Mumbai

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a Mahayuti rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on May 17, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a Mahayuti rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on May 17, 2024. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders from the INDIA bloc, including Shiv Sena’s (UBT) Uddhav Thackeray, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, engaged in a showdown in Mumbai on May 17 ahead of the city heading to polls on May 20. They exchanged barbs over corruption, Hindutva, the ‘real’ Shiv Sena, Article 370 and the Constitution.

Mr. Modi, addressing a packed gathering at the Shivaji Park in Dadar, said Mumbai is going to play a huge role in the mission of Viksit Bharat by 2047. He alleged that the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Mr. Thackeray halted all development projects in Mumbai, including the bullet train, Mumbai metro and the container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. “They were taking revenge from Mumbai. Modi has come here to give what Mumbai deserves,” he said.

Mr. Modi said he has a 10-year report card and a 25-year road map, and the INDIA bloc has nothing but as many prime ministerial candidates as the number of partners in the alliance.

The Congress, he said, was fighting a battle for survival and could go to any extent to save itself. “Its Maoist manifesto is eyeing gold from temples and the mangalsutra of women. It plans a 50% inheritance tax... the party is planning an X-ray of your property and handing it over to their vote bank which speaks of vote jihad,” the Prime Minister said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his two deputies Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray shared the dais with Mr. Modi.

Mr. Thackeray, who addressed the INDIA bloc rally at BKC Grounds, hit back, saying this is the first election where Mr. Modi is not finding direction for his campaign. He said voters will throw the BJP government out of power this election.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) chief said Friday’s speech was Mr. Modi’s “last speech as Prime Minister in Mumbai”. “On June 4, the country will be ‘de-Modified’ and you will remain Narendra Modi, but not as India’s PM,” he said.

Challenging Mr. Modi, Mr. Thackeray said, “You call my Sena nakli (duplicate). I dare you, Modiji, try and bring down Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra will teach you a lasting lesson. You can never do that. This state belongs to Shahu, Phule, and Ambedkar and can never belong to Modi, Shah and Adani.”

He criticised Mr. Modi’s frequent visits to Mumbai, comparing him to the Mughal empire Aurangzeb, who fought for 27 years in Maharashtra without winning the State.

Mr. Thackeray condemned Mr. Modi for holding a roadshow at the site of the Ghatkopar hoarding crash, where 16 people died, saying, “You were dancing and singing even before the last rites of those who died were performed.”

Nationalist Congress Party (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar said, “Until now, the country’s leaders have worked to strengthen parliamentary democracy. For the first time, people are faced with the problem of protecting the Constitution, and this is due to the current ruling side.”

Mr. Kejriwal, currently out of jail on interim bail till June 1 to campaign for the Lok Sabha polls, said if Mr. Modi won, he would put Opposition leaders behind bars. He accused Mr. Modi of finishing the political careers of several BJP leaders, including Mr. Fadnavis, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.