The Shiv Sena on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of resorting to “histrionics” and pulling the ongoing poll campaign for the Gujarat elections to “a new low”. The critical ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said that Modi “dug up the graves of the Mughal regime” in his campaign – instead of speaking about “vikas” (development) issues – to target the opposition Congress. “The people of Gujarat had already rejected the Congress for 22 years for this very reason… The PM chose to ignore the progress and developmental issues and stooped to mere ‘tu-tu, main-main’ (rhetoric) in his own home-state,” the Sena in a strong edit in the party mouthpieces, “Saamana” and “Dopahar Ka Saamana”, said. It pointed out how Modi oscillated between “very emotional” and “highly aggressive” in his public meetings and wondered what prompted the BJP to such bottom-level campaigning tactics, with its party chief Amit Shah, all cabinet ministers, state Chief Ministers and other leaders swooping on Gujarat to defeat Congress Vice President Rahul (Gandhi). The edit mentioned the “neech” (lowly) reference made by “jobless” Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar which Modi countered by claiming it was “an attack on Gujarati pride” which raked up a controversy that subsided only after Aiyar apologised. “This reference to me is an insult not to the country, but to the people of Gujarat”, was Modi’s refrain as the Congress attempted a damage control by suspending Aiyar from the party. “By such a statement, Modi made himself small… We always believed he stood for the ‘pride’ of the people and all the Hindus of the country, but he still remains stuck in the Gujarat rut.
“He came across more as a regional leader than a national figure, but when others raise issues of ‘regional pride’ they are threatened into silence by the sword of ‘national pride’,” the Sena added sharply. “It has been made clear by the BJP that truths and lies no longer matter in winning elections, as also issues of ‘vikas’, which is the reason why the party even forgot to publish its manifesto and “nobody raised developmental issues in the campaigns,” the edit said. The Gujarat poll campaign was reduced to mere theatrics, making emotional speeches, shedding tears, and doing ‘tandav’ (Dance of Death), and in the final stages, Modi became very sentimental by referring to “the people of the country are my family”.
“Does this imply that all past Presidents, Prime Ministers and other top leaders had no relationship with the people? Some like Indira Gandhi sacrificed their life, while many others spent years in jail, for the country… “They sacrificed so much because they considered the people of India as their family,” the Sena said sternly. Not only them, it reminded that even the soldiers who were getting killed on the borders are a part of the same family, and urged the ruling dispensation to rein in their highly emotive speeches.