New Delhi: In a letter dripping with sarcasm, Congress leader Rashid Alvi has offered to look after the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's mother. The BJP responded this evening to what it described as "the cheap shot" by alleging that Mr Alvi's note "mocks the great sacrifice" made by Mr Modi and his entire family in his decision to "dedicate his life to the nation." (Congress' Rashid Alvi Writes to Narendra Modi Offering to Take Care of His Mother)
The exchange comes in the dog days of a long and intense election campaign, lately seeped in a scrum of deeply personal attacks by top leaders. Election results will be declared on May 16. Mr Modi is expected to lead his party to a gold-standard total. The Congress, fronted by Rahul Gandhi, is placed vertiginously with opinion polls predicting its worst performance ever. (Read Letter)
This morning, Mr Alvi said in his letter that he has noted Mr Modi's repeated telling of the fact that his mother worked in neighbouring houses while raising him, and she now lives "in an 8x8 room" and travelled in an auto rickshaw to vote in this election.
Refering to Mr Modi's election papers in which he declared assets of 1.25 crores, Mr Alvi said he is puzzled by why, despite "so much wealth," Mr Modi does not provide better facilities for his mother. "Your mother is like my mother. I may not be as resourceful as you are,"Mr Alvi said, seeking permission to look after her. He alleged that Mr Modi's penchant for private jet travel, Mont Blanc pens and designer watches is well-documented.
In his campaign, Mr Modi has effectively contrasted his simple origins with the VVIP family that Rahul Gandhi is from. Mr Modi has stressed he rose from a tea-seller to a prime ministerial aspirant. Mr Gandhi, he says, has coasted to the Congress' top rung on the basis of his famous last name.