With the third phase of elections due to be held tomorrow, all parties have pulled out the stops in a desperate bid to win over voters. However, it is sad that in the process of campaigning for mindshare, leaders often indulge in unsavory accusations and counter accusations, many times to distasteful levels. All are guilty of this.
Narendra Modi took on Mahagathbandhan accusing them of trying to ‘extract’ 5% from the quota reserved for SC/ST, Dalits, Mahadalits, OBC and EBC categories and ‘transfer’ that benefit to a particular community, in an obvious reference to the Muslims, while speaking at a rally in Buxar yesterday.
Calling the opposition a ‘Mahaswarth’ alliance, he asked people to beware of their devious plans to tamper with the existing quota system just to appease one community. He said that the Supreme Court has barred any quota to be given on the basis of religion and that there was a cap of 50%, and therefore the 5% quota could not be given. He further said that he and his party would fight this ‘paap ki yojana’ to take away what was rightfully theirs. He once again brought up the fact that he was from an EBC community and that he had to fight poverty all his life and understood the plight of those fighting it today.
He also accused Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad of promoting corruption. He asked the people why the duo had not taken any action against the JD(U) MLA who was caught red-handed accepting a bribe. He told the people that ‘Jungle Raj’ would once again return to Bihar, if they were voted back.
Modi took on Nitish Kumar’s offer to provide laptops to students asking people how students were going to operate the laptops and computers when there was no power in the state. He also made a reference to the video leak that showed Nitish Kumar visiting a Tantrik to seek his blessings. He warned the people that the Mahagathbandhan was all about ‘tantra-mantra’ and, in an obvious reference to the Muslim community, he asked whether the people needed to wear ‘Tabiz’ for progress in Bihar.
Lastly, Narendra Modi raised the issue of women’s reservation in Parliament telling people that it was JD(U), along with RJD, that opposed reservation for women. He questioned Sonia Gandhi’s reasons for aligning with these parties.
Nitish Kumar was quick to counter Narendra Modi’s accusations in his speeches yesterday. He condemned the PM for stooping low and demeaning the office of the Prime Minister by making baseless allegations. On PM’s accusation on reservations, he clarified that his government was fully aware that reservations can only be offered on the basis of social and educational backwardness, therefore there was no question of his government proposing or planning to make any changes to reservation on the basis of religion, as accused by the PM.
He further took on Narendra Modi’s statement on reservation for women in Parliament. He again clarified that while his party was initially opposed to reservation for women in parliament, the party had changed its stance and had supported it. He further stated that Bihar had already implemented reservation for women in the state. He said the PM should check his facts before going public with accusations.
He counter attacked Narendra Modi by bringing up women’s health in Gujarat and corruption at the centre. He raised the point that Gujarat has the highest rate of anemic women and wanted to know how this was possible in a state where Narendra Modi was in power for 15 years. On the PM accusing JD(U) and RJD of corruption, he asked why the PM remained silent on the Vyapam scam and Lalitgate, while continuing to protect the concerned ministers.
Rahul Gandhi in his speech attacked Narendra Modi vowing to dislodge the BJP in state after state. He accused the PM of ‘telling ‘lies’ to the people of Bihar regarding migration of youth from the state. He spoke of how the Bihari youth were being treated in BJP ruled Maharashtra and told the people to ask the PM what he was doing about the beating up of Bihari youth there before he comes to Bihar speaking about youth and migration.
He blamed RSS training as the reason behind Narendra Modi’s spreading lies and said that it was the Congress that had the experience of governing the country and not BJP. He said the party had taken a large number of people out of poverty in the last 10 years and in partnership with the other alliance partners, an even greater number will benefit in times to come.
Rahul Gandhi spoke about Narendra Modi’s pet programme ‘Make in India’, saying that the ‘Babbar Sher’ in the logo had done little towards creating jobs for the youth. He asked the people if anyone had received a single job under the ‘Make in India’ campaign. He told the people to be careful of the PM’s promises as he rarely delivered on them.
He was scathing on PM’s silence on Dadri and various incidents including the one in Faridabad, where two Dalit children were killed. He blamed the BJP for fanning communal tensions in states just before elections.
N Raghuveera Reddy, Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee President, arrived with a six-member team from Andhra Pradesh to campaign in support of the Mahagathbandhan. Going straight after the PM, he warned the people of Bihar to be careful of ‘master cheat’ Narendra Modi, saying that he is used to making promises and then backing off later. He spoke of how former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had committed A.P. of special status in February 2014 and had promised a special package, post bifurcation of the state.
He said that the BJP and Narendra Modi had promised to extend that special assistance package by 5-10 years but once TDP-BJP came to power in A.P, they have gone back on their promise to give national status to the Polavaram Irrigation Project, offer special assistance to build a new capital, develop backward areas in the state, bridge revenue deficit and offer other financial assistance to the newly formed state. He accused the PM of not fulfilling any of the above promises and warned the people of Bihar not to get taken in by his promises of special package to the state.
Misa Bharati, Lalu Prasad’s daughter who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, countered PM Modi’s reference to her in his speech on Monday when he spoke of how Lalu tried unsuccessfully ‘to set’ his ‘bechari’ daughter in politics.
In a Facebook rebuttal, Misa took strong offense to this reference saying that a woman was a ‘bechari’ because people like the PM didn’t know how to give respect to women and would dump them shortly after marriage, in a reference to the PM’s desertion of his wife, when he goes about speaking on ‘Beti Padhao Beti Bachao’ campaign. She questioned how the PM could lose his ‘sanskar’ and ‘maryada’. The Facebook post has since gone viral.