- Congress' Navjot Singh Sidhu says the results have given the party hope
- He says Rahul Gandhi is "going up" while PM Modi is "going down"
- The PM is a "puppet" of capitalists, the Punjab minister says
As the Congress inches towards victory in three big states that went to polls over the last few weeks, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said "bure din jane wale hain", taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his promise "ache din aane wale hain (good days are ahead)". The slogan, designed ahead of national elections in 2014, was the hightlight of the BJP's campaign.
Votes are being counted in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. The Congress has lost Mizoram to its regional rival Mizo Nation Front (MNF).
In his poetic style, the cricketer-turned-politician said, "Bure din jaane wale hain aur Rahul Gandhi aane wale hain... kuch hi samay baad Lal Qile pe jhanda fehrane wale hain (Bad days will go away and Rahul Gandhi will unfurl the national flag at Red Fort)."
Does he mean that the Congress chief is going to become the prime minister in next year's Lok Sabha elections?
"Why not? Rahul Gandhi is going up while Narendra Modi is going down. Public sab janti hai (people can see through). The results have given us hope. Voters have laid the foundation... all roads lead to Red Fort now," he told NDTV.
He also called the Congress chief the "man of the series" and praised him for the party's good show. "Our leader (Rahul Gandhi) has led the team well through the campaign, and results are coming accordingly. Rahul Gandhi has exhibited great character in a time of crisis, like a captain guiding a ship in choppy waters. He is the 'man of the series'," Mr Sidhu told news agency PTI.
The Congress leader, who was earlier part of the BJP, has been relentless in his attack on PM Modi and his party over a host of issues, including the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal and farmer suicides.
"The wave in favour of Narendra Modi in 2014 that had helped the BJP come to power with a comfortable majority has turned out to be 'poisonous' for the common man," Mr Sidhu said.
The Punjab minister has also accused the prime minister of acting like a puppet in the hands of moneybags. "The prime minister is a 'katputli (puppet)' of capitalists. If a farmer fails to repay a loan of Rs 1 lakh, the government beats drums. But when (industrialists) Adani and Ambani do not repay Rs 1.5 lakh crore, you do 'pappi-jhappi' with them (hug them)," he said.
He also took on PM Modi over unemployment and the centre's 'Make in India' initiative.
"When Rafale jets will come from France and bullet train from Japan, what will people do here? They will fry pakodas (fritters)," Mr Sidhu said referring to the NDA government's decision to buy 36 ready-to-fly fighter jets from France and India's agreement with Japan for the bullet trains.