Prime Minister Narendra Modi has requested the Congress "not to mock my poor origins," extending his scathing attack on the opposition party and its leader Rahul Gandhi from one rally in Gujarat to another, as he begins a campaign blitz his home state, which votes early next month for a new government.
- PM Modi responds to Congress meme deriding him as a tea-seller
- 'Yes, I sold tea but I did not sell the nation,' says PM
- PM conducting campaign rallies in Gujarat before elections next month
"The Congress dislikes me because of my poor origins. Can a party stoop so low? Yes, a person belonging to a poor family has become PM. They do not fail to hide their contempt for this fact. Yes, I sold tea but I did not sell the nation," PM Modi said in Rajkot, adding, "I request the Congress not to mock the poor and my poor origins."
The PM's comments referred to the latest controversy the Congress landed itself in last week, when the party's youth wing mocked the Prime Minister as a "chai-wala" in a meme it later deleted, but not quickly enough.
The BJP has since resurrected its "chai" campaign strategy that it had successfully deployed ahead of the 2014 general election, highlighting the Prime Minister's childhood when he sold tea at railway stations to stress that he is a self-made leader in contrast to the Gandhis' dynastic control of the Congress.
The chai campaign was constructed as a result of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar infamously deriding Mr Modi as a tea-seller who could never become Prime Minister.
The BJP has said the repeated attacks on the PM over his humble origins exemplify the Congress' elitist mindset and that an enraged public will punish it by ensuring the BJP sweeps the Gujarat election.
Gujarat, the Prime Minster, said at his first rally in Bhuj today, will not forgive the Congress for making "baseless allegations against the son of the soil," as he pitched the election as a battle between "vikas(development)" and "vanshwaad (dynasty)," in an attack on Rahul Gandhi, who is set to take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi as Congress president before Gujarat votes.
"When Keshubhai Patel, a son of Saurashtra became the CM the Congress tried everything to dislodge him. They repeated the same disruptive tactic with Anandiben Patel, a daughter of the Patel Community. Congress has defamed Gujarat always," the Prime Minister said, also accusing the opposition party of learning from the Aam Aadmi Party "whose style is to keep abusing and running away. I thought the Congress, being an older party would not indulge in such politics but they have also taken this short cut in the past two months and only hurled abuses and lies."