As the political ardour is gaining pace in Rajasthan ahead of the crucial Assembly polls on December 7, a war of words between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi escalated on Tuesday. While addressing a rally in poll-bound Rajasthan’s Sikar, PM Modi came out all guns blazing at the Congress chief and accused him of showing disrespect to the country.
"Congress has come up with a 'fatwa' that I should not begin rallies with 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. How can they deny this? They must be ashamed of even saying such a thing. This shows their disrespect for our motherland," ANI quoted the prime minister as saying.
PM Narendra Modi in Sikar, Rajasthan: Congress has come up with a "fatwa" that I should not begin rallies with "Bharat Mata Ki Jai". How can they deny this? They must be ashamed of even saying such a thing. This shows their disrespect for our motherland. #RajasthanElections pic.twitter.com/wIEOfynRC3— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2018
Modi's bard came hours after the Gandhi scion take a jibe at PM Modi over his style of starting speeches with chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. Addressing a rally in Alwar, Gandhi further advised Modi to begin his speech with ‘Anil Ambani Ki Jai, Mehul Choksi ki jai, Nirav Modi ki jai, Lalit Modi ki jai’ instead of chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.
“PM Modi says ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ before every speech, he should instead say ‘Anil Ambani ki jai, Mehul Choksi ki jai, Nirav Modi ki jai, Lalit Modi ki jai’. If you talk of Bharat Mata then how can you forget our farmers?” Rahul Gandhi was quoted as saying by ANI.
Coming down heavily on the Opposition for demanding proof of surgical strikes laucnched by the Indian Army with precision on September 29, 2016, Modi further said, "After surgical strike, the whole country was full of passion and passion, but it seemed like the Congress was mourning the move. You doubted the move? Sitting in the Congress office 'Naamdaar' said that Modi was lying".
PM in Sikar, Rajasthan: Desh ke jawan surgical strike karke aaye toh poora desh josh aur jazbe se bhara tha par Congress mein aise lag raha tha jaise koi shok sabha hai.Aapne jab khabar suni apko shak hua? Congress office mein baithe 'naamdar' keh rahe the Modi jhuth bol rahe ho pic.twitter.com/KJS6wCkDrz— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2018
The Congress has been critical of the Modi-led BJP government in different voices post-surgical strikes in 2016. Party chief Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Sanjay Nirupam, had accused the BJP of politicising the strikes to garner votes. Surjewala said instead of giving credit to the Army, the BJP was trying to drive political mileage from it by crediting Prime Minister Modi.
Talking about other anti-BJP parties and politicians, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BSP chief Mayawati were on the forefront of either criticising the government or expressing doubts over the surgical strikes.
The counting of votes for poll bound Rajasthan and four other states - Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram will be taken up on December 11, 2018.