In retaliation for the Congress’ president M. Mallikarjun Kharge’s characterisation of him as a “venomous snake,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated on Saturday that the party and its leaders have abused him 91 times.
In addition to accusing the Congress of mistreating the dominant Lingayat community in Karnataka, which is going to the polls, the prime minister asserted that the grand old party had also mistreated Babasaheb Ambedkar, and was currently mistreating Veer Savarkar.
On his first visit to the state for campaigning as the elections were announced on March 29, Modi attacked the Congress, saying that no matter how much mud the party throws at the Bharatiya Janata Party, the lotus will eventually bloom.
“The Congress hates everyone who speaks about the common man, who brings out their corruption, who attacks their politics of selfishness. Congress’s hate against such people will become permanent. In this election too, the Congress once again has started abusing me,” Modi said.
Addressing a public rally here in Bidar district, he said: “Someone has made a list of such abuses against me and it has been sent to me. Till now Congress people have abused me 91 times with different types. Had Congress people put efforts in good governance and boosting the morale of its workers, instead of wasting time on this dictionary of abuses, Congress would not have been in such a pathetic plight.”
Kharge compared Modi to a venomous snake during a speech he gave on Thursday at a campaign rally in Karnataka, which is headed for elections on May 10. He later apologised, saying that he had not intended to offend anyone and that the “statement was not for PM Modi, but for the ideology he represents.”
Modi said: “Insulting those who work for the poor and the country is Congress’ history. I’m not the only one who has been attacked like this. Last election they ran a campaign ‘chowkidar chor hai‘, then they said ‘Modi chor‘, then they said ‘OBC community are chor‘, and now just the election season has started in Karnataka they showed the guts of calling my Lingayat brothers and sisters chor.”
“Congress people listen with open ears, whenever you have abused someone they have punished you in such a way that you have not been able to withstand it. This time Karnataka has decided to respond to the abuses, the pain inflicted to their pride, through votes,” he pointed.
Modi said the Congress is a party that has abused Babasaheb Ambedkar, noting that insults are directed at him by senior Congress leaders.
“Babasaheb Ambedkar himself had once said in detail that Congress abused him repeatedly. Congress had called Babasaheb Ambedkar ‘rakshas‘, ‘Rashtra Drohi‘, ‘Dagabaaz Dost’…you will be shocked to hear. Even today we see how Congress abuses Veer Savarkar. Congress has abused stalwarts of this country,” he said.
“Looking at this I feel that Congress respects me like they did to Babasaheb Ambedkar, Veer Savarkar, as Congress is abusing me in a similar way. I feel it as a gift to me. Let the Congress abuse me, I will continue to work for the country and its people. With your blessings all their abuses will get mixed in mud. Congress people understand, as much mud you sling at us, the lotus will bloom,” he added.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Union Minister Bhagawanth Khuba among others were present.
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