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PM, Rahul, Hardik trade barbs during 1st phase polling in Gujarat

Sunil Raghu, DH News Service, Ahmedabad, Dec 9 2017, 23:09 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI file photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI file photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel continued to trade barbs as electorate in 19 districts of Gujarat cast their vote in the first phase of Assembly polls across 89 constituencies on Saturday.

Modi, continuing his attack on Congress, quoted a Congress worker Salman Nizami questioning his ancestry, while addressing a large gathering in Lunawada. "Congress is asking who are my father and mother. I ask you brothers and sisters, do we talk in such language with even an enemy? A responsible Congress leader asked me that. Now I'll tell you about him. He is originally from Azad Kashmir. Would you give your vote to such Azad Kashmiris?"

Modi said the Congress had abandoned all shame in using words on the verge of defeat in the election.

Modi all the way

Rahul Gandhi, who was also in the state during the polling, reacted to PM citing the slurs used by Congress leaders against PM over the past 15 years, said the Prime Minister had run out of topics and was making himself a poll issue. At a rally in Kanodar in North Gujarat, Rahul said "When surrounded by uncovered truth on his claims of 'Vikas' (development), Narendra Modiji made Mani Shankar Aiyar an election issue. Now, he doesn't speak of poor, farmers or corruption. Narendra Modiji's speeches are now all about Narendra Modiji," Rahul told the gathering. "Let me remind you, these elections are not about Modiji, not about Rahul Gandhi or BJP or Congress. These elections are about the people of Gujarat," he added.

EC as BJP prez

Meanwhile, Hardik released a video on social media asking the electorate to vote out BJP. "Do not vote for independents or other parties. There are only two parties in Gujarat €“ BJP and Congress. If you do not like Congress then do not go to vote," he said in his 35-minute interaction.

He also took on the Election Commission by saying the poll code of conduct did not apply to him as he was not a political leader. "I am a common man. I can say anything. And I am saying it openly. Do not vote for BJP. If you (EC) want, go ahead and file a complaint against me. I think EC should be made BJP President so that they can find it easy to work for the party," he said.

He also showed pictures of a Patel youth, who was beaten black and blue, and urged his supporters not to forget these pictures when they vote.

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