Businessman and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s husband Robert Vadra on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of launching personal attacks on him instead of talking about more important matters at his campaign rallies.
The Lok Sabha elections are currently underway. Two more phases – on May 12 and May 19 – remain, and the results will be declared on May 23.
“I wonder what do you want to achieve by invoking my name, again and again,” Vadra said in a Facebook post. “Simply the nation knows my name is repeatedly used in elections to digress from the failures of your government [and] their own misdeeds.”
The businessman said he was shocked to hear the prime minister was targeting him at his rallies. “There are glaring issues such as poverty, joblessness, women empowerment, etc, which are staring right at you, but you chose to talk about me, out of everything else,” he added.
Vadra’s statement came hours after Modi made apparent references to him at a rally in Fatehabad in Haryana. “Whenever there was Congress government in Centre and Haryana, they took away the land of farmers at low rates,” Modi said, according to ANI. “With your blessings, this ‘chowkidar [watchman, a term Modi uses to refer to himself]’ has taken those who looted farmers to the court.”
Modi said those who were guilty were now seeking bail and going to the Enforcement Directorate’s offices. “They used to think that they are ‘shahenshahs’ [emperor] and nobody can touch them,” the prime minister added. “Now they are nervous. I have already taken them to the door of the jail, give me your blessings and I will put them in jail within next five years.” Several other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have also mocked Vadra in the past.
Vadra alleged that the Modi government had harassed him in the last five years. “Relentless notices from various agencies, courts [and] tax departments, to simply mentally pressurise me,” the businessman wrote. “Eleven times being summoned to depose each of eight to 11 hours with the Enforcement Directorate, in different parts of the country, court depositions [and] related orders, etc. But not one allegation has been proven.”
Vadra asked Modi to stop attacking him at rallies. “By passing such remarks you insult our honourable judicial system,” he added. “I have full faith in the Indian judiciary and the truth shall prevail. God save the people of this country.”
Vadra is accused of laundering money to buy real estate in the United Kingdom. He is also being investigated in the Bikaner land scam under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In March, Vadra had appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi several times for questioning.