Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a scathing attack at Rahul Gandhi at his Maharashtra rally on Wednesday, accusing the Congress president of targeting him and his community because he was from a backward community. “I have been abused many times by the Congress and its allies… but this time they branded the entire backward community as thieves,” PM Modi announced.
It was a counter to Rahul Gandhi’s recent attack, also delivered at a Maharashtra rally, where he demanded people why “all thieves have Modi in their names”. Gandhi listed fugitive businessman Nirav Modi and former cricket administrator Lalit Modi as two examples and wondered “how many more such Modis will come out”.
PM Modi stated it was a reflection of how the opposition looked at the backward classes.
“Recently the naamdar (a reference used by the PM for Gandhi) branded a whole community as a thief. He says everyone having Modi in his name is a thief. They abuse me because I am from a backward community. This is how they view people from backward castes.”
The prime minister was speaking at Akluj in Solapur district of Maharashtra that is part of the Madha Lok Sabha constituency. The sitting MP from the seat and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader, Vijaysinh Mohite–Patil shared dias with PM Modi.
Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil’s son Ranjitsinh recently joined the BJP after the NCP refused a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections. At the rally, PM Modi targeted NCP chief Sharad Pawar stating, “Sharad Rao attacked me over my family…You can’t walk the path as Modi…Your model is a particular family of Delhi, you learn from them and follow them.”
PM Modi was initially expected to address the election rally at Baramati in Pune, from where Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule is in the field. However, the plan was reworked and PM Modi addressed his public rally in Solapur.
Baramati is Pawar’s home turf and has been an NCP bastion for decades. The NCP chief was a six-term MP from this seat till 2009 when he quit it for his daughter Supriya Sule, who is looking for a third consecutive win from Baramati.