Modi hits out at Oppn, Nitish comments on campaign trail
The BJP and the National Commission for Women criticised Kumar’s comments, even as his ally and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav defended him, saying his intent was to laud women
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar over the latter’s controversial remarks on the role of women in population control and said the Opposition didn’t respect women, as the political row over the comments intensified on Wednesday.
Modi’s comments came hours after Kumar apologised for the remarks, made in the discussion on Bihar’s caste survey in the assembly, and said his intention was to highlight the role of women’s literacy in population control. Bihar’s assembly was rocked by protests by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers even as members of the ruling grand alliance defended Kumar.
In Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district, Modi called the remarks shameful without naming Kumar, one of the key architects of the 28-party Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).
“Yesterday, one of the INDI alliance’s big leaders who is holding the bloc’s flag high and playing different games to unseat the present government (at the Centre) used a language, which no one can even think of in a state assembly in the presence of mothers and sisters... he didn’t even feel ashamed of it,” said Modi.
The PM used the comments to attack the Opposition.
“Those having such a vision, how can they keep your honour and respect? How low will they stoop? What an unfortunate situation for the country. I will do whatever I can to ensure your honour and respect,” Modi said.
“He (Kumar) does not have shame. Not only this, no leader of INDI alliance uttered a word despite such big disrespect for women... Those who have such a view against mothers and sisters, can they do any good?” he asked.
The row began on Tuesday afternoon as Kumar was addressing the assembly over the detailed caste survey that had been tabled in the House. But his controversial description of how improved literacy among women helped in population control and restraining husbands sparked a storm of condemnation. The BJP and the National Commission for Women criticised the comments, even as his ally and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav defended him, saying his intent was to laud women.
In Patna, Kumar was greeted by protesting BJP lawmakers who held posters demanding his resignation. “I have come to know today that something I had said yesterday has not gone down well with many people. My intent was to highlight my government’s focus on women’s empowerment and the role improved literacy among women plays in population control. Though if anybody’s sentiments have been hurt, I seek an apology and take back my words,” he said.
But that didn’t pacify the opposition members. When the assembly session began at 11 am, BJP members trooped into the well of the House, some of them even picking up chairs, meant for the reporting staff, to express their outrage.
Modi addressed three rallies on Wednesday.
In Guna, he also attacked the Congress for corruption and ignoring local industries. He said that the mobile phone industry had grown from two factories to 200 now, and this was the reason for cheap mobile phone availability.
“Congress never promoted local products and Make in India like the BJP did,” he said, asking people to take selfie of local products during Diwali and post it on the Namo app.
Addressing a second rally at Damoh in the Bundelkhand region that send 26 lawmakers to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly, Modi pledged to make India among the top three economies in the world.
“Modi has punctured all tyres of Congress corruption machine,” he said, referring to allegations of corruption against the Congress-run governments of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
Referring to the scheme of providing free rations to 800 million people, Modi alleged that the Congress would complain against him to the Election Commission on the issue.
“I will do everything to ensure the continuation of the free ration scheme to 80 crore people for the next five years. Let them (Congress) go to any court against me in the world,” he said.
The PM announced last week that the free ration scheme will be extended for another five years.
To counter the Congress’s campaign allegation of the BJP administration taking 50% commission in Madhya Pradesh, the PM said that the Congress will start taking 85% commission if it comes to power.
The PM alleged that Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge was run by remote.
“He can’t do much. When the remote works, he abuses sanatana (dharma). Yesterday, when the remote was not working, he spoke about Pandavas and said there are five Pandavas in the BJP. We are proud that we are walking on the path laid by the Pandavas,” Modi said.
On Tuesday at Thatipur in Gwalior, Kharge termed the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Income Tax (IT), Modi and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the ‘panch pandavas’ of the BJP. “But these are not the actual pandavas (of epic Mahabharata fame), but the ones that need to be defeated,” Kharge had clarified.
Modi said the Congress was ruling Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, but their chief ministers were involved in satta (betting) and generating black money.
He also said that people cannot trust Congress guarantees as they misled people for elections in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.
He appeared to be referring to allegations around the Mahadev betting app. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) said last week that an email statement from a suspect in the alleged scam revealed that promoters of the operation paid bribes worth ₹508 crore to chief minister Bhupesh Baghel,
The Congress hit back at Modi for his “remote-control” jibe at Kharge, terming it a “concerted attack” on all those who come from oppressed backgrounds.
Congress general secretary (organisation), K C Venugopal, alleged that the prime minister has insulted “a son of the soil” and the leader of his party.
“This is not a loose political statement, it is a concerted attack on all those who come from oppressed backgrounds but aim to succeed in public life,” he said. It also hit out at the PM for his jibe over the party complaining to EC on the extension of the ration scheme.
Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said, “It’s election season and the Jagadguru of Jhoot is working overtime to save his image.”
“Meanwhile, attached is the proof of Mr Modi opposing the National Food Security Act on August 7, 2013, and then later making a complete U-turn by rebranding it as PMGKY,” Ramesh said and tagged a letter written by Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat to then PM Manmohan Singh criticising the food security ordinance 2013.
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