Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said the ongoing elections are not about one particular family, but about crores of families “whose aspirations have been left unfulfilled” by the Narendra Modi government. Speaking in Ambala in Haryana, she said that Bharatiya Janata Party leaders were asking for votes by insulting “martyrs in my family”.
The remark came days after the prime minister said in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had died a corrupt person. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter.
Vadra claimed that 5 crore jobs were lost in the country because of demonetisation alone. “Jobs were lost rather than created,” she said. “The jobs in cities reduced [after demonetisation], and when people returned to villages, they found that MNREGA [Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme] was also weak and even that is not giving jobs. This is how they tortured youth in these five years.”
Vadra likened the Modi government to Mahabharata character Duryodhana, and said India’s history has seen instances that people never forgive arrogance. She said the Congress was contesting the elections on issues, people’s needs, and the reality that the BJP government has not done anything in five years.
She also called the government anti-people, anti-youth, anti-women and anti-farmer, and challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contest the polls on issues of development and farmers’ and women’s issues.
Meanwhile, BJP chief Amit Shah attacked Gandhi, saying the electorate will decide on May 23 who Duryodhana really is. “The Congress gets upset if a former prime minister is insulted,” he said at a rally in Bishnupur town in West Bengal, referring to Modi’s remarks on Rajiv Gandhi. “But if the current prime minister is insulted, they do not react. Just now, Priyanka Gandhi compared Modi to Duryodhana. But the people of India will decide on May 23 as to who is Duryodhana and who Arjuna [another character in the Mahabharata].”
Two phases of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections are left to be held, on May 12 and May 19. Haryana votes on May 12. Votes will be counted on May 23.