This Article is From Nov 15, 2013

Better to be tea-seller than sell out the nation: Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi addressing the rally at Raigarh.

Raigarh, Chhattisgarh: Narendra Modi, who is running for Prime Minister, today shared his diagnosis of what is wrong with the Congress - he said his political rival is so preoccupied with monitoring him that it has no time or attention to expend on running the country.

"The Congress sits in front of TV sets to see what Modi is doing, what he is saying," said the BJP leader, referring to himself in the third person at an election rally in Chhattisgarh, where the BJP is hoping for a third straight term.

He also took on another opponent - the Samajwadi Party - whose leader Naresh Agarwal said days ago that a tea seller cannot become the Prime Minister. Mr Modi has in his speeches highlighted that he comes from a poor family and sold tea at train stations. "The people will decide if a tea-seller will be PM or not.  It's better to sell tea than to sell out the nation," he told his audience.

And then he offered a new round of direct attacks on Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Yesterday, he said Mrs Gandhi's ill health requires her to hand over the mantle to her son, who is Number 2 in the Congress. The Congress cried that he had gone too far.

With no visible effect.

Mr Modi today said that Mr Gandhi keeps referring to systemic problems that prevent the development of backward regions. "Who put these systems in place?" he asked. "Your father, grandmother did... for vested interests."

With just days to go before voting in five states including Delhi and Chhattisgarh, the campaign has been flaming with personal and vicious attacks.

Earlier this week, the Election Commission served notice to Mr Modi for his denouncement of the Congress's symbol, the hand, as a "khooni panja" or "bloody claw."

Mr Gandhi has also been reprimanded for his speeches in which he accused the BJP of inciting communal riots across the country.