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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | After Muslim League jibe, PM takes 'Maoist' swipe at Congress manifesto; talks of lost decades

Addressing an election rally in Mumbai three days ahead of the fifth and last phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra covering 13 seats, the BJP stalwart lashed out at the Congress over its election manifesto.
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 18:51 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 18:51 IST

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Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday tore into the Congress's election manifesto, dubbing it a "Maoist" document, which he cautioned will put a break on the country's economic growth and lead it to bankruptcy if implemented.

He said if the Congress was dissolved post-independence as per Mahatma Gandhi's wishes, India would have been five decades ahead in terms of social and economic development than what it was today.

Addressing an election rally in Mumbai three days ahead of the fifth and last phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra covering 13 seats, the BJP stalwart lashed out at the Congress over its election manifesto.

"The Congress is fighting a battle for its survival and can go to any extent (to save itself). Its Maoist manifesto is eyeing gold from temples and 'mangalsutra' (gold chains) of women. The Maoist manifesto will put a break on economic growth and lead the country to bankruptcy," he told the gathering at the sprawling Shivaji Park Ground.

The PM had earlier said the Congress poll document had Muslim League imprint. The BJP's star campaigner alleged the grand old party wants to bring back inheritance tax (a levy on assets inherited from a deceased person) which was abolished in the 1980s.

"It also plans a 50 per cent inheritance tax... the party is planning an X-ray of your property and handing it over to their vote-bank which speaks of vote jihad," he maintained.

The BJP stalwart said construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya and removal of Article 370, which provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir, were once considered impossible tasks in the country, but they have now become a reality.

"But they were made possible because of the power of your single vote," he told the large gathering.

Modi asked the people of Mumbai to remember terror strikes and serial bomb blasts that rocked the metropolis in the past and the change in the situation after 2014 when they go out to vote on May 20.

He emphasised bomb blasts and terror strikes are a now thing of the past in the financial capital.

"In the last ten years, they (Mumbaikars) have been feeling safe and secure," the PM said at the rally organised to seek votes for Shiv Sena-BJP candidates in the metropolis.

Targeting the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, Modi maintained the "fake" Shiv Sena had betrayed the mandate of the people and worked against the interest of Mumbai and Maharashtra.

"The nakli Shiv Sena has betrayed Balasaheb Thackeray by standing with those who abuse Ram mandir and also (Hindutva icon Veer) Savarkar," he said. "I will give Mumbai its due right. Days are not far off when Mumbai will get India’s first bullet train," he declared.

The PM noted the financial capital has emerged as a hub of start-ups. "Today, there are 8,000 start-ups in Mumbai. India is the second largest mobile manufacturing hub," he pointed out.

"Mumbai is the economic powerhouse of the country and the stock market headquartered in the metropolis is now the fourth largest in the world, but the I.N.D.I.A bloc is hatching conspiracies to break the trust," he charged.

The PM said Mumbai was a dream city and was going to play a huge role in achieving the goal of a developed India by 2047. "I have come to you with a dream of Viksit Bharat (developed India). Mumbai knows the importance of speed. Countries which gained independence along with us have overtaken us in terms of development. Where did we lag? It was the previous governments which did not trust its people. If you see the Red Fort address of earlier PMs, they called Indians lazy. Such attitude cannot take the country forward," he noted.

When the Congress lost power at the Centre in 2014, India's economy was at the 11th position, but it has now jumped to the 5th spot, Modi opined.

"If the Congress was dissolved as per Gandhiji's wishes, India would have been five decades ahead of what it is today. We lost five decades because of the Congress. When we got independence, India was the 6th largest economy and when the Congress left power in 2014, it was 11th," he said.

"Indians fought for 500 years to build a magnificent temple for Ram Lalla in Ayodhya. Frustrated people and those in despair also said removal of Article 370 was impossible, but it was scrapped. No power in the world can bring back Article 370," he asserted.

Talking about women's welfare, the PM pointed out that the practice of instant triple talaq has been banned and women have got 33 per cent reservation in assemblies and Parliament.

Modi said earlier 'garibi hatao' (eradicate poverty) was merely a slogan, but for his government action on the ground matters. "Modi brought 25 crore people out of poverty (in 10 years).

What seemed impossible was done with the power of your vote," maintained the PM. Without naming NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar, Modi said, "I challenge the NCP leader to ask (Congress MP) Rahul Gandhi to say he will not abuse Savarkar again.

The I.N.D.I.A. bloc has betrayed the country by giving a clean chit to terrorist Ajmal Kasab and questioning surgical strikes. It wants to snatch SC/ST/OBC quota and give it those who speak of vote Jihad."

Thirteen Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, including 6 in Mumbai, will vote on May 20.

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Published 17 May 2024, 18:51 IST

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