Narendra Modi clicks a ‘selfie’ after casting his vote at a polling station in Gujarat on Wednesday. The Election Commission has ordered the state administration to file an FIR against Modi for violating the model code by displaying the BJP’s election symbol (lotus) and making a speech after casting his vote in Gandhinagar. (Reuters)
Chhapra, April 30: Soft on Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi and their daughter Misa Bharti, Narendra Modi today went hard after “Ma-Beta (Sonia and Rahul Gandhi)” in his election speeches in the state.
“All of you have seen Ma-Beta addressing election rallies at several places in Bihar. Did you find Ma-Beta ever sharing dais with Laluji?” the BJP prime ministerial candidate asked.
He said: “Malai chanpne ke liye Ma-Beta Laluji se alliance ko parde ke peechhe rakhte hain. Ye doglapan hai (Mother and son keep their alliance with Laluji behind the curtains to enjoy power and lucre. It is downright double standard)”.
Modi later corrected himself and replaced the word doglapan by dohrapan (almost similar in meaning but relatively less derogatory) in the later part of his speech.
The BJP mascot used the respectful suffix of ji, while referring to the state’s most powerful family calling them Laluji, Rabriji and Misaji against mocking Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as Ma-Beta or Ma-Bete ki Sarkar at least seven times during his 30-minute speech from 3pm at the airport ground of Chhapra, the headquarters of Saran district, about 70km northwest of Patna.
The ground in the Saran Lok Sabha constituency where Rabri Devi is seeking election following a lower court convicting her husband (Lalu) in a fodder scam case and banning him from joining the poll fray was packed to its size. About 50,000 people attended the rally. People in large numbers were seen on the streets beyond the ground and some had climbed trees to listen to Modi, defying the 40°C temperature.
As usual, the Muslims, by and large, kept away from his rally. Shakeel Anwar, a professor of political science at Jaglal Rai College and a noted anchor of social events in the city was seen hurriedly speeding past the venue of the rally on his motorcycle, while Lalu Prasad addressed an election meeting at Khaira-Patti, barely 10km from Chhapra where Modi was playing “cleverly” to woo Lalu.
Virtually rebuffing Modi’s sympathetic words, Lalu in his typical style mocked the Gujarat chief minister. “Dhaan ka roti tawa mein, Modi ud gaya hawa mein. Wo PM nahin banega (As a bread of paddy disappears from an oven, Modi has disappeared into thin air. He will never become a PM),” Lalu said.
Portraying a demon-like image of Modi, Lalu said: “Usko dekh kar kasai bhi dar jayega (Even a butcher will be petrified to see him).”
In sharp contrast, Modi cautiously selected his words while referring to Lalu, who has never lost to the BJP candidate, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, and has represented Saran (previously Chhapra) five times. He even sought the audience’s permission to speak on Lalu-Rabriji.
“Agar main Laluji-Rabriji par bolunga to aap bura nahin na manengien (Would you mind if I speak on Laluji and Rabriji)?” Modi asked. When the “na (no)” came in chorus from the audience, Modi said: “Laluji, Rabriji and Misaji, you should understand that Ma-Beta are using you to grow in their power but are humiliating you too. Ma-Beta are strong at your strength but they are not ready to give you the proportionate respect.”
Political observers described Modi’s gesture for Lalu and family as extending an olive branch to the RJD chief. Modi, believed to be ahead of others in the race to become the Prime Minister, might be trying to keep Lalu in a good humour keeping his eyes on the post-poll scenario, a BJP leader at the meeting said.
Addressing election meeting at Sheohar, Ujiarpur, Chhapra and Hajipur, the Gujarat chief minister predicted an imminent fall of the UPA government and ascendance of the BJP one. “The elections across the country concluded so far has laid the foundation of the BJP government in the making. The rest of the polls would help give a strong and stable government,” Modi said.
Taking a potshot at the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, Modi said: “While replying to reporters’ query in Guwahati recently, Manmohan said he did not find any wave in Modi’s favour. How can Manmohan see a wave in my favour when he has not seen sky-rocketing price rise, growing unemployment, large scale corruption and suicide of farmers in the past 10 years?” Modi asked mockingly.
Keeping himself away largely from the big national and local issues, Modi told the youths: “I live to fulfil the dream of the young generation between 18 and 28. Give me only 60 months of chance against 60 years to the Congress to serve you. I shall do everything to get your dream realised”.
Modi’s remark on chief minister Nitish Kumar was laconic but as sharp as scissors. “Saatven aasman se tir chalane wale ko shikashta dein (Defeat the one shooting arrow from the seventh heaven),” Modi said, obviously referring to Nitish whose JD(U) has arrow as its poll symbol.
The candidates from Saran and Maharajganj — Rudy, Janardan Singh Sigriwal — and the local BJP MLAs were on the dais with Modi.