Congress President Rahul Gandhi today hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “PPP Congress” jibe, likening him to a mobile phone on “speaker and airplane” mode and not the “work” mode.
On the ninth leg of his election tour of Karnataka, Rahul said Modi made personal attacks against him since he did not have much to speak about on other issues.
“There are three modes in a cell phone....the first is the work mode....the other two are speaker mode and airplane mode. Modi only uses speaker and airplane mode and not the work mode,” he told reporters in an impromptu interaction.
He was responding to a question about Modi’s Tuesday remark at an election rally in Gadag where he said the Congress will become “Punjab, Puducherry, Parivar” Congress after its defeat in the Karnataka Assembly polls.
“You might have seen and heard, in my speeches I speak about Narendra Modi, I question him on issues....but I speak about him with respect. Narendra Modi is an elderly man, he is aged, going to be 70. I respect those who are elder to me,” Gandhi told election rallies in Hosakote and Maluru.
Modi, he said, cannot speak on corruption as the party’s chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa faced graft allegations. “He cannot speak about corruption as he has Yeddyurappa standing next to him. He cannot speak about farmers as he has not given them MSP, bonus, and not waived farm loan.”
“He cannot speak about Dalits as Rohit Vemula (a dalit student of Hyderabad who committed suicide) was killed by his people, Dalit in Unnao was killed by his people. What is left? Speak ill about Rahul Gandhi, Siddaramaiah, and (Mallikarjun) Kharge. He does it,” the Congress president added.
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During the three-day visit, Gandhi will address public meetings in Kolar, Bengaluru rural, Chikkballapura, Tumakuru districts and Bengaluru city. Gandhi said though use of such language was unbecoming of a prime minister, it was a “habit” with Modi.
Alleging that atrocities against Dalits and minorities were on the rise, the Congress president said his party would not allow the Constitution to be changed, as asserted by Union minister from Karnataka Anantkumar Hegde.
“Narendra Modi folds his hands in front of Ambedkar’s statue and garlands it, but the causes for which Ambedkar fought, he will not fight for it,” Gandhi said, adding that, all across the country Dalits and minorities were being “beaten up, killed and crushed”.
About Hegde’s alleged comments on the Constitution, he said, “Modi ji listen carefully, put however much strength you have you cannot change Ambedkar’s Constitution because Congress party will not allow you to do it.”
Terming Karnataka elections as a fight between ideologies, he said on one side was the thinking of Basavanna (12th century social reformer), the Congress party, Indira Gandhi and Devraj Urs (former chief minister), and on the other were the BJP, RSS, Modi’s thought.
Gandhi said apart from Yeddyurappa, four former ministers who had spent time in jail, and eight people from the camp of the controversial Reddy brothers were in the poll fray so they can “loot” Karnataka.
“The qualification of Yeddyurappa, Reddy brothers and four ministers......Yeddyurappa is the most corrupt chief minister the country has seen, Reddy brothers are the most corrupt people the country has seen...they will give money for marketing Modi after looting Karnataka,” he said.
Earlier, the Congress president rode a bicycle as he led a march against high fuel prices at Maluru in Kolar district. He later stood on a bullock cart from where he addressed a gathering. He alleged the Modi government wanted to take money from the common man to give it to its “rich friends”. Petrol prices were going down across the world, but in India those were still high, he lamented.
“Earlier in international market, the price was $ 140 per barrel, now it is $ 70 per barrel. So lakhs of crores of rupees is being saved by the government. Where is the money going?” Gandhi asked.
“Why are you not telling people that you don’t want to put GST on petrol and diesel? You want to take away money from the common man and want to give it to your five or ten industrialist friends....take money from the pockets of women and put it into the pocket of Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi,” he said.