Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday slammed Rahul Gandhi’s expected elevation as Congress President, dubbing it as “Aurangzeb Raj”.
Taking another jibe at the ‘dynasty politics’ of the grand old party, he said, “I congratulate the Congress on their Aurangzeb Raj. For us, the well being of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command”.
PM Modi made the remarks while addressing a public rally in Dharampur. He will address four rallies today in his home state, which votes for a new government in two phases beginning this Saturday.
Without referring to the National Herald case, in which Rahul Gandhi had got bail, Modi, addressing a campaign rally in Valsad district of Gujarat, said, "Congress has gone bankrupt, as it is going to make a person who is out on bail in corruption case its president."
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Taking potshots at the opposition party, the PM claimed it was senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar who first compared the Mughal empire's practice of primogeniture to the elevation of Rahul as Congress president after his mother.
"Mani Shankar Aiyar said that 'did elections happen during Mughal rule? After Jehangir, Shahjahan came, was any election held? After Shahjahan it was understood Aurangzeb will be the leader'. So Congress accepts it's a family party? We don't want this Aurangzeb rule," said Modi.
Aiyar however soon hit back and sought to remind Modi that unlike in Aurangzeb's time, anyone from the party is free to contest elections for the post of Congress president.
"Don't compare both, during Mughal rule it was understood that after Jehangir, Shahjahan will be the leader but here anyone is free to contest against Rahul Gandhi, it's a totally democratic process," said Aiyar.
PM Modi's jibe comes following the nomination by Rahul Gandhi for the Congress' presidential election earlier in the day. The post is currently held by Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi who has been at the helm since 1998.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has, time and again, attacked the Congress Party, accusing it of indulging in dynasty politics and feudalism, but the accusation came full force, when Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla called out the process of electing party president as "rigged" and said he had information that the delegates, who were going to vote for the election, were fixed.
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Referring to the BJP's resounding victory in the civic polls in Uttar Pradesh, Modi said, people in the Congress also think they would not been able to harm the BJP's prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
So, the prime minister said, the thinking in the Congress is that if they could defeat the BJP in Gujarat, people of other states will listen to them.
"Will you allow that to happen? Will you stop the journey of development in Gujarat?" Modi asked the audience that responded with an emphatic 'no'.
Modi also took potshots at Rahul Gandhi over his frequent visit to temples during the poll campaign.
"In earlier days, there used to be a competition to show how secular they are. If one says that I am secular, the other will say he is four kg more secular, the third will say he is six kg more secular and the fourth would claim he is 10 kg more secular.
"But what is the competition for before 2017 (Gujarat) polls? After 70 years where all they have to go to?" Modi asked the gathering that shouted in one voice "temples".
He said the people of Gujarat were not fools and would see through the "deception" (of visiting temples for Hindu votes).
Asserting that he never faced any allegation of corruption in his long public life as chief minister and prime minister, Modi asked the audience,"Have you ever read in any newspaper that I have taken any thing? have you read that Modi's brother or any relative took money? Have you read that son-in-law of our family has taken any money?" he asked, to which the crowd responded in the negative.
On the other hand, he said, the Congress governments were mired in scandals.
The prime minister said even the Congress has accepted that the BJP is not an anti-Muslim party, as unlike in the past elections, it is not branding BJP leaders communal this time.
"If you remember 2002, 2007, 2012 (polls), all Congress leaders would brand us as communal and anti-Muslim. But before the 2017 polls, no leader is saying that BJP is communal. This means the Congress has also accepted that the abuse they were hurling against the BJP was false and was meant for vote bank politics," he said.