Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday mocked the Congress in Rajasthan, raising questions about the stability of its government and what he called its “guarantee formula” for state elections.
On a visit to Ajmer and Pushkar as part of the BJP’s public outreach or Jan Sampark Abhiyan, PM Modi ripped into the Congress over corruption.
In an apparent reference to the Congress’s five guarantees for Karnataka, where it won an election earlier this month, PM Modi said: “The Congress has a new formula of guarantees. But are they fulfilling their guarantees? Their guarantees will leave the country bankrupt.”
The Congress’s election campaign in Rajasthan, led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, focuses on social welfare schemes ranging from free electricity to cheaper cooking gas.
“Fifty years ago, the Congress guaranteed that it would remove poverty. But it turned out to be their biggest betrayal of the poor,” PM Modi said.
“It has been a policy of the Congress to mislead the poor and keep them deprived. The people of Rajasthan have also suffered a lot due to this…And what has Rajasthan got? A government where MLAs, CM (Chief Minister) and ministers fight among themselves,” he said.
The remarks referred to the Congress’s Ashok Gehlot versus Sachin Pilot feud, which remains unresolved despite multiple attempts and a show of unity on Monday. Shortly after the PM’s remarks, Sachin Pilot aimed another zinger at his own party, repeating his ultimatum for the Gehlot government on action over corruption allegations against the previous Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government.
“On the matter of corruption and justice, there is no compromise,” Mr Pilot said.
This was PM Modi’s fourth visit this year to Rajasthan, where elections will be held in five months. The rally also marked nine years of the BJP government at the Centre.
PM Modi said his government, over the past nine years, had been dedicated to the service of the people, good governance, and the welfare of the poor. He cited his party’s schemes, reading from a list without a pause.
Before 2014, he said, people were on the streets against corruption and there were terror attacks in major cities while the Congress ran the government by remote control.
“The Congress developed a corrupt system that sucked the blood of the country and hindered development,” he said, referencing an old comment by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that out of 100 paise, only 15 paise reached the poor.
Now, the Prime Minister said, the world is talking about India and experts say India is very close to ending extreme poverty.
Before the rally, PM Modi visited Pushkar and offered prayers at the only temple for Lord Brahma in the country.