Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi criticised the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, on Friday for not revealing his marital status in the previous elections and doing so only in this election when filing his nomination papers in the Vadodara constituency. The Congress remained on the offensive on the issue with party leader Kapil Sibal moving the Election Commission seeking action against him.
Campaigning in Doda for senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mr. Gandhi mocked Mr. Modi for suppressing his marital status. “I don’t know how many elections he has contested. But it is for the first time that he has described himself as married,” Mr. Gandhi said suggesting that more skeletons could tumble out of the cupboard.
“In Delhi, the same people [the BJP] claim through posters that giving dignity and empowerment to women was on top of their agenda,” Mr. Gandhi said.
Mr. Gandhi said the Gujarat Police, at the behest of Mr. Modi, had “stalked” a young woman and violated her privacy using official machinery. “What kind of women’s empowerment and dignity is this?” he asked.
Mr. Gandhi said women were feeling insecure in BJP-ruled States. He said one BJP government was known for “unleashing terror” and injustice on women, and in another State, BJP Ministers were caught on camera watching videos on cellphone inside the Assembly. “You must have read in newspapers what kind of films they had been watching,” he said.
In Delhi, Mr. Sibal said he had “filed a petition with the Election Commission seeking action against Modi under various provisions of the IPC [Indian Penal Code] for hiding facts in his election affidavits regarding his marriage.”
He said the commission had assured him that he would examine his plea. Mr. Modi never revealed in election affidavits he had filed between 2002 and 2012 that he was married.
The BJP’s defence was that Mr. Modi had never lied on the matter and there was “no aggrieved party.” “Right now, we should be focussing on serious election issues, not worry about Mr. Modi’s wife. This will boomerang on the Congress,” senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said.
The Congress, he said, is digressing from election issues by referring to Mr. Modi’s wife.
The Congress has, however, clearly decided to take on Mr. Modi, with Mr. Sibal saying that the government would also shortly be announcing a judge to head the investigation into the Snoopgate in Gujarat. “We have not backed out. We only have to name the judge,” Mr. Sibal said.
(With additional reporting by Smita Gupta and Smriti Kak Ramachandran in New Delhi)