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Modi takes elections back to 1980s, mentions Rajiv Gandhi and INS Viraat

PM alleges that Rajiv Gandhi used the INS Viraat for 10 days for a vacation when he was in power

By Imran Ahmed Siddiqui in New Delhi
  • Published 9.05.19, 6:46 AM
  • Updated 9.05.19, 6:46 AM
  • a min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing an election rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday revisited the 1980s to accuse Rajiv Gandhi of using INS Viraat as a “family taxi” during a 10-day vacation to Lakshadweep with the then Prime Minister’s family and in-laws from Italy.

Addressing a rally on the Ramlila Grounds, Modi referred to Rahul Gandhi’s earlier accusation that Modi was using the army as his personal property.

“The naamdar is saying that the army is not anybody’s personal property. But who had used it for so many years? Have you heard that Rajiv Gandhi used INS Viraat for 10 days for his vacation when he was Prime Minister? His in-laws from Italy were also on board,” Modi said.

At a time when INS Viraat was positioned for protection of maritime boundaries, Modi said, it was sent to take Rajiv and his family to an island for their holiday.

“Why were the outsiders allowed on board? Was it not a compromise of national security? Even navy personnel were put in the service of Rajiv Gandhi and his family while they were vacationing on the island. INS Viraat was also stationed at the island for 10 days during that time.”

INS Viraat, an aircraft carrier, was commissioned in 1987 and decommissioned in 2016.

In 1987, Rajiv and family had taken a break on an island in the Lakshadweep archipelago. Questions were then raised about INS Viraat being roped in. Amitabh Bachchan and his family were also part of the holidaymakers.

National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted:

“Has Modi ji discovered a time machine? It’s almost as if he’s fighting the 1989 general election & Rajiv Gandhi is his principal rival! Oh to be 19 again.”

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