Turning the clock back by 30 years, an issue that was more a talking point during the 1989 Lok Sabha poll campaign, the PM accused the Gandhi family of using warship INS Viraat as its “personal taxi” for a holiday when Rajiv Gandhi was at the helm. Earlier, Modi had called the former PM “Bhrashtachari no. 1”.
Responding to that barb, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on Sunday, “Modi Ji, the battle is over. Your karma awaits you. Projecting your inner beliefs about yourself onto my father won’t protect you. All my love and a huge hug.”
In this phase of elections, the PM has launched a sustained attack on the Gandhi family. Apart from Delhi, the PM also addressed public meetings in Haryana’s Fatehabad and Kurukshetra on Wednesday. Haryana’s 10 and Delhi’s 7 Lok Sabha seats go to the polls on May 12.
“Ever imagined that a premier warship of the Indian armed forces could be used as a taxi for a personal holiday? One dynasty did it,” Modi asked. He said the Navy was made to host the Gandhi family and Rajiv Gandhi's in-laws, and a helicopter was also deployed in their service. “INS Viraat was insulted by using it as a personal taxi. This happened when Rajiv Gandhi and his family was out for a 10-day vacation. INS Viraat was deployed for securing our maritime boundary. But it was diverted to take the Gandhi family which was out for a vacation,” Modi said.
“Rajiv Gandhi was accompanied by his in-laws who had come from Italy. Question is whether the security of the country was not compromised by taking foreigners onboard a warship,” Modi asked.
He also claimed that after picking up the Gandhi family, INS Viraat halted at an island for 10 days. Aircraft carrier INS Viraat was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1987. After nearly 30 years of service, it was decommissioned in 2016.
In a reference to former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra, Modi said in Haryana that he has taken them to the doorstep of the jail, and would put them behind bars in the next five years.
At his rallies, Modi went into some length to list the abuses he alleged Congress leaders have hurled at him over the years and claimed they did not even spare his mother.
In his first rally in Haryana during this election season, the PM alluded to alleged land scams under investigation and said the Congress has been reaping a “crop of corruption” in the state. “They have done ‘bhrashtachar ki kheti’ on farmers’ land and the proof is in Haryana.”
“How the game to snatch farmers’ land at throwaway prices was played whenever the Congress was in power in Haryana and Delhi, you know this,” Modi said.
“With your blessings, this ‘chowkidar’ took those who looted the farmers to court,” the PM said. He said, “They are running around for bail, going to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) offices. They thought they were emperors and nobody could touch them, but now they are feeling the heat.”
The PM did not mention Hooda or Vadra. Vadra took to Twitter and Facebook to say he has “suffered harassment” at the hands of the Modi government in the last five years and that the PM was “insulting” the judiciary with his remarks that he will send him to jail.
“Please stop these personal attacks on me. By passing such remarks, you insult our honourable judicial system. I have full faith in the Indian judiciary and the truth shall prevail. God save the country,” Vadra tweeted.
On Facebook, Vadra said, “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.” “I have been at the receiving end for the last five years by your government. Relentless notices from various agencies, courts and tax departments, to simply pressurise me mentally. Eleven times being summoned to depose each of 8-11 hours with the ED, in different parts of the country, Court depositions and related orders, etc. But not one allegation has been proven (sic),” he said.
In Kurukshetra, Modi listed the abuses he said the Congress has hurled at him from its “love dictionary”. The PM claimed the Congress compared him to Adolf Hitler, Dawood Ibrahim, Mussolini, etc.
“A Congress leader called me ‘gandi naali ka keeda’ (a gutter insect), one leader called me a mad dog, another one called me Bhasmasura. One more Congress leader, who was external affairs minister, called me a monkey, while another minister compared me with Dawood Ibrahim,” Modi alleged.
“They even abused my mother and even asked who my father is and remember all this was said after I became the PM,” he said. The PM alleged that the Congress has given tickets to people who talk about chopping him into pieces. “I know speaking such kind of words from a public platform is not right. Children studying in schools and colleges, they too are listening to my speech, but they should neither learn nor speak such kind of language (used by Congress leaders against him),” he said.
With inputs from PTI