India prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (24) took a veiled dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying people looking at a mirror ten times a day and aspiring to become prime minister cannot even win assembly constituencies in their Lok Sabha seat.
He said the Congress-led opposition, which has been “hurling abuse” at him, was now talking ill of the EVMs after realising the “trend” of three rounds of voting in the general election, “just like a child who makes excuses to justify his under-performance in exams”.
Modi also slammed Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy for his remarks that those who cannot make both ends meet alone join the army, and wondered over the Congress’ “silence” over it.
“People who look at a mirror ten times a day and then daydream about becoming the prime minister…. it’s ridiculous that they cannot even win the assembly constituencies in their Lok Sabha seat,” Modi said in an apparent attack on Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress chief is in the fray from Amethi for the fourth time and is pitted against Union minister Smriti Irani, who had lost to him in 2014. Gandhi is also contesting Wayanad seat in Kerala.
In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the BJP had won four of the five seats under Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, while the fifth had gone to the Samajwadi Party.
“After the trends of three phases of polling, the opposition has come to know which way the wind is blowing.
They have been abusing me. Now they are abusing EVM and are angry with the machine. What can the EVM do?” Modi said addressing a rally here for BJP candidates for Chatra, Lohardaga and Palamau Lok Sabha seats.
He said the ‘mahamilawatis’ have realised they “stand no chance” after three phases of polling and are looking for excuses to defend their poor show.
At a press meet on Tuesday, leaders of several major opposition parties had questioned the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and renewed their demand that 50 per cent of the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips be matched with the EVM results.
“Just like a child who makes excuses to justify his under-performance in exams, opposition parties have started directing their anger at the EVMs and the voting process to cover their shortcomings. The response in the first three phases of polls have left the opposition with no option but to accept defeat,” he said.
“A son of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda (Kumaraswamy) demoralises the army by saying only those who cannot make both ends meet join the army…Arre doob maro(go, drown yourself). Our valiant soldiers are fighting to secure the country. They are fighting the enemy and taking bullets,” he said.
Modi wondered why the Congress was “silent” over the remarks of Kumaraswamy, the Karnataka chief minister and its partner in the state’s ruling coalition. He also wanted to know why the media was not discussing it.
Referring to the slain CRPF jawan Vijay Soreng, a Jharkhand native who was among the 40 personnel killed in a terror attack in Pulwama on February 14, Modi wanted to know whether his family sent him to join the force as it did not have food.
Claiming that naxalites and terrorists got emboldened whenever the Congress was in power, Modi claimed ultra-Left extremism has been quelled to a great extent in the last five years, with the youth shunning the path of violence and joining the social mainstream.
Modi appealed to people to once again elect a government with full majority as only such dispensations could control the menace of naxalism and terrorism.
Modi asserted his government helps all people irrespective of their religious faith.
“We did not see what (religious) affiliations the 46 daughters of Kerala had. They were freed from terrorists in Iraq. They are your daughters, they are also the daughters of this chowkidar,” he said referring to the rescue of nurses from the southern state, mostly Christians, from the captivity of ISIS terrorists.
With Balakot air strikes in mind, the prime minister said, “It is this chowkidar’s government which knows how to respond to Pakistan and the terrorists promoted by it in their own language. Your government gave a befitting response to the terrorists by entering into their territory and destroying their headquarters.”
He asserted terror groups were now afraid that his government will smoke them out even from the netherworld.
Referring to the terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, Modi said before 2014, even India faced such strikes but all that changed afterwards.
Before 2014, India responded in a “feeble voice” to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. “The terrorists are now looking for new abodes,” Modi asserted.