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OPINION | HOW MODI PUT CONGRESS ON THE DEFENSIVE

Congress leaders branded Modi as ‘mentally insane’, ‘enemy of communal harmony’, ‘liar’, ‘fraud’ and what not. Congress leaders have challenged Modi to show where the party manifesto has promised to take over private property and redistribute wealth.

Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Updated on: April 24, 2024 6:08 IST
India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma
Image Source : INDIA TV India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma

By raising the issue of ‘redistribution of wealth’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised serious questions about the intent and policy of the Congress party. Since Sunday, in his election rallies, Modi has been on the offensive against the Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi. Modi accused the Congress of planning to redistribute private assets after carrying out an economic survey of movable and immovable assets, including real estate and gold, owned by families. Modi told voters that the ‘hand’ (symbol of Congress) would take control of people’s earnings in the manner Maoists have done in other parts of the world. Modi termed the Congress leaders as ‘Urban Naxals’. Modi has changed the tone and tenor of the election campaign. Congress leaders went to the Election Commission and demanded action against Modi for violating Model Code of Conduct by  making communal statements about minorities. 

The EC has sought videos and transcripts of Modi’s speeches. Congress leaders branded Modi as ‘mentally insane’, ‘enemy of communal harmony’, ‘liar’, ‘fraud’ and what not. Congress leaders have challenged Modi to show where the party manifesto has promised to take over private property and redistribute wealth.  Congress has now been joined by other opposition leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Sanjay Raut, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Mamata Banerjee and Asaduddin Owaisi in targeting Modi. The point is: what provoked the Prime Minister to make these remarks? I think, Rahul Gandhi’s remarks gave Modi the handle. Rahul Gandhi has been creating headaches for the Congress. After the Congress manifesto was released, Rahul Gandhi, while addressing a rally in Hyderabad on April 6 said, “if Congress came to power, property survey will be carried out throughout India, to find out which family has how much assets”. One must understand the entire issue. 

Rahul Gandhi, in his speech, clearly said, the economic survey will be carried out to ascertain which family has how much property, and these would be redistributed. Modi latched on to this remark and he linked this with a 2006 speech by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in which he had, inter alia, said, “plans for minorities, especially Muslims, must have the first claim on resources, so that the benefits of development reach them equitably”. Modi, at his Sunday rally, lashed out at Congress and said if Congress comes to power, it will seize private wealth and give them to Musalmans. What Rahul Gandhi said clearly shows the effect of Leftist thinking. During the 20th century, in countries ruled by Communist parties, private properties were surveyed and then seized by the State. What Modi said reflects BJP’s ideology. Modi believes that the Congress is following a policy of appeasement in order to make Muslims happy as they constitute a big vote bank. As far as seizure of private property is concerned, this is an issue which can cause scare among the common people and hurt them emotionally. This is the reason, why Congress leaders are now worried. Till last weekend, Congress leaders have been saying that Modi would finish off democracy and change the Constitution, and Modi was busy replying to those charges. The tables are now turned. Modi is now on the offensive, and Congress is fully on the defensive. 

Their leaders are busy issuing clarifications about their manifesto and also about Dr Manmohan Singh’s and Rahul Gandhi’s speeches. Congress leaders are busy telling voters that nothing has been mentioned about ‘redistribution of wealth’ in the manifesto. But the problem with Congress is, Rahul Gandhi has publicly made these remarks. Not once, but several times. Congress tried to erase Rahul’s remarks from videos and records, but in this digital age, this is not possible. The only silver lining of relief for the Congress is that all the leaders in anti-Modi front are now united in their mission to target Modi.

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