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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Rahul Gandhi targets 'power' behind PM Modi 'mask'

His task is to divert attention so that the nation’s wealth is looted. No 56-inch chest, he is a hollow man: Rahul Gandhi

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 18.03.24, 06:00 AM
People gather at the Shivaji Park ground in Mumbai for the INDIA rally on Sunday.

People gather at the Shivaji Park ground in Mumbai for the INDIA rally on Sunday. PTI picture.

Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was just a mask and the real battle was against the “power” that controlled the system, hitting out at a few capitalists whose sole intention was to “loot” the country.

Addressing a massive gathering at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park where most Opposition leaders were present, Rahul said: “These leaders present here are not fighting a political party — the BJP, or Narendra Modi. Modi is just a face. He is a mask. Like Bollywood actors, he is given a role. His task is to divert attention so that the nation’s wealth is looted. No 56-inch chest, he is a hollow man.”

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Arguing that the "power" he had referred to was manipulating the system and the institutions, Rahul said: “Somebody said Raja ki jaan EVM mein hai. Absolutely right. Modi’s strength lies in EVM, in ED-CBI. Modi can’t win any election without EVMs. We told the Election Commission to show us the machine. They didn’t allow. We are saying, count the VVPAT slip. They are not agreeing. Why? How dare they say paper slips won’t be counted?”

Explaining how the ED and the CBI were being “misused” to manipulate politics, he said: “One senior who joined the BJP recently cried before my mother. He said he doesn’t have the courage to resist these forces. He didn’t want to go to jail. He felt ashamed. He is not alone. There are thousands who are frightened. The NCP and Shiv Sena MLAs and MPs went away because of fear. Mumbai airport was snatched and given to Adani by using central agencies. An airport was given international status for a wedding.”

Rahul mentioned schemes such as Agniveer, social justice and rising economic inequalities and asked the people to rise against injustice. “There is not one youth in the country who supports the Agniveer scheme. The army doesn’t support it. But the media doesn’t discuss real issues. Unemployment, prices and injustice are never discussed in the media. Hate is spread to divert attention from real issues. It is your responsibility to fight injustice and save democracy.”

Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray asked the people to gear up for the battle to save democracy and evict autocracy. He raised the slogan: “Abki baar, Bhajpa tadipar.”

Thackeray said: “Modi says, ‘This time 400-plus’. Is it a furniture shop? Do you want 400 seats to change the Constitution? Do you want to follow the Russian model like Putin? You are so arrogant that you describe the Indian government as ‘Modi sarkar’. Are you ashamed of taking the country’s name?

NCP veteran Sharad Pawar said India was crying for change. “Teach a lesson to the rulers who made false promises and betrayed every section of society. A leader who doesn’t fulfil his promises must be punished. Modi ki guarantee is a lie. He misleads the nation with propaganda. Mahatma Gandhi gave the call of Bharat Chhoro from Mumbai. Today, we should take a vow to evict the BJP.”

Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK leader M.K. Stalin said Modi had done only two things in the last 10 years — foreign trips and fake propaganda. “This must stop now. He calls us corrupt. But the electoral bonds have unravelled the truth — the BJP is corrupt. There is no bigger threat to India than the BJP,” Stalin said.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav described Modi as the “manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of lies”. He said: “In Maharashtra, they stole MLAs. But in Bihar, they stole the chief minister. But all those sitting in the Maharashtra government are dealers, not leaders....”

While the CPIML’s Dipankar Bhattacharya said “paisa bolta hai”, analysing the BJP’s dominance, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj asked every Opposition leader to do Facebook Live to spread the message about Modi’s “loot” through electoral bonds.

He said the EVMs had been set to give an advantage of 10 per cent votes to the BJP and the remedy was to give 20 per cent additional votes to the Opposition.

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said Modi hadn’t fulfilled any of his lofty promises and won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections because of the Pulwama tragedy. “Now he says, ‘Char sau paar’. His sole intention is to scrap the Constitution and become like Putin in Russia.... The entire India will become like Kashmir if you don’t vote carefully now,” she said.

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