AHMEDABAD: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has stirred a controversy by throwing "Ravan" barb at Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, with Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel claiming the remark reflects the opposition party's hatred for Gujaratis.
Elections for the 182-member Assembly in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Gujarat are scheduled to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5.
PM Modi has been extensively campaigning for the BJP candidates ahead of the polls.
Kharge on Monday night addressed a rally in Behrampura area of Ahmedabad city where he said the prime minister asks people to vote "looking at his face" in all elections.
"Are you 100-headed like Ravan," he said.
Taking a strong exception to the remarks, CM Patel in a tweet said, "Bereft of any development agenda and support from the people, the Congress is out to abuse Gujarat and Gujaratis. The statement made by Kharge ji against PM Narendra Modiji is a testimony to their hate for Gujaratis. The people of Gujarat will reject them this time too for such behaviour," Patel added.
Addressing people in Behrampura area under the Congress-held Danilimda seat, Kharge said in every election, votes are sought in the name of Modi instead of local candidates or the performance of government.
"Modi asks people to ignore everything and vote (for BJP) by keeping his face in front of the eyes. I wonder on how many occasions we have to see your face? People have to see your face during municipal corporation polls, then in the Assembly polls and also during polls to elect MPs," he said.
"Everywhere you want us to see your face. Why? How many faces do you have? Are you 100-headed like Ravan? I don't understand this," the Congress president said.
He further said the BJP asks people to vote for Modi.
"If our candidate for this seat is Shailesh Parmar, then campaign for your candidate against him and seek votes in his name. Instead, they say vote for Modi. Will he come here to fix issues related to the municipality?" Kharge said.
The senior Congress leader further said instead of doing his work as India's PM, Modi canvasses for various elections, be it local bodies or Assembly polls.
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He asked the BJP to seek votes on the performance of its government and previous Congress governments, both in Gujarat 27 years back and at the Centre.
"The BJP believes in telling lies only. I recently said Modi is 'badshah' of telling lies, because he keeps on telling lies. What happened to two crore jobs every year? He used to say he will give Rs 15 lakh to each citizen after bringing black money from abroad," Kharge said.
He further claimed Modi was fond of inaugurating projects which were originally started by the Congress.
"Recently, the Centre filled 75,000 vacancies. I saw that event on TV. And who was distributing certificates at the event? The PM of this country. Why was he doing the work of a clerk or a deputy secretary? Are you needed for distributing appointment orders?" he said.
"You first tell the nation why they are not filling 30 lakh vacancies? They are not doing it because out of those 30 lakh, nearly 16 lakh jobs will go to the poor people. They don't want Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Economically Weaker Section candidates to get jobs," Kharge claimed. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)