‘Bajrang Bali’, ‘Mafia of Italy’ paint MP campaigns

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan with his wife Sadhna Singh pose for a selfie at Indian Coffee House, in Bhopal. PTI Photo 

As the election process for five states enters its final phase, and Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram go to polls on Wednesday, this spell of polls, touted the semi-final before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will be remembered for its controversial and — at times — atrocious comments from all sides.

Madhya Pradesh, which goes to polls after an almost month-long high voltage campaigning, in particular saw a vitriolic war of words between the Congress and BJP.

From “nobody knows Modi’s father” and “isko thokho (hit her)” to “Mr Stupid” and “Mafia from Italy”, the remarks reverberated during the campaign.

Congress leader Raj Babbar dragged Modi’s mother’s name, likening the falling rupee value to her age. “Hum toh yeh kehna chahenge ki rupaya aapki pujaniye mataji ki umr ke kareeb neeche girna shuru ho gaya hai aaj kal (We will only say that the value of rupee is now inching closer to your mother’s age),” he said. The BJP called it “repulsive” and slammed Babbar.

Campaigning in Indore, senior Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu attacked the woman mayor of the city, Malini Lakshmansingh Gaur, over a demolition drive and said “Taali thoko aur iske sath mahapaur ko bhi thoko,” (clap your hands and also hit the mayor). BJP reacted sharply and sought an apology while its spokesperson, Meenakshi Lekhi, called Sidhu “Mr Stupid”.

Union minister Giriraj Singh said, “take Kamal Nath to Tihar jail. Congress can elect its desired candidate from there” while reacting to the video in which Nath asked for 90% voting at the Muslim booths.

BJP’s most sought-after campaigner, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in an election rally, said, “Kamal Nathji, aap ko yeh Ali mubarak, hamare liye Bajrang Bali paryaapt hongey (I want to say, Kamal Nathji, keep your Ali, our Bajrang Bali is enough for us). Ali is Prophet Mohammad’s successor and Hindu god Hanuman is called Bajrangbali.

Congress MLA Jitu Patwari got into a controversy over his remark that women voters take bribes during the election time and sell their votes. “Women hide bribe in their blouses,” he had said, evoking strong reactions from women who asked him to stop defaming women.

In Indore,Yogi Adityanath said, “I do not understand what Rahul Gandhi says. Sometimes it is difficult to understand if he is speaking in India or in Pakistan. The only thing that Congress got from Italy is the mafia.”

In the other states, the scenario was the same.

A major controversy began after a video of former Union minister Vilas Muttemwar surfaced in which he was heard asking who knew Modi before he became the prime minister and who knows even now the name of his father.

“Who knew you (Modi) before you became the prime minister? Even today nobody knows your father’s name. Everyone knows Rahul’s father name — Rajiv Gandhi,” Muttemwawr said during a meeting in Rajasthan. BJP called the statement ‘crass and shameless’.

Former Union minister C P Joshi got a notice from Election Commission for lashing out at PM Modi and Union Minister Uma Bharti in Rajasthan’s Nathdwara for saying “only Brahmins know enough to talk about Hinduism”. After a snub from Rahul Gandhi, Joshi apologised.

Addressing an election rally in Jashpur in Chhattisgarh, Yogi Adityanath said agents imported from Italy undertook anti-national activities. The statement is purpotedly an attack on Sonia Gandhi, who has Italian origins, and she was alleged to have been indulging in religious conversion.

With days left for the campaigning to end, the states are bound to see a lot more muck.

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‘Bajrang Bali’, ‘Mafia of Italy’ paint MP campaigns

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