Modi targets Rahul over his 'north-south' remarks

Modi targets Rahul over his 'north-south' remarks, lashes out at Narayanasamy

Rahul Gandhi had said he was used to a "different type of politics" in north India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting ahead of the Assembly elections, in Puducherry. Credit: PTI.

Attacking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his recent 'north-south' remarks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday alleged the party's policy was to "divide, lie and rule." Not mincing words, he said the Congress culture of feudal politics, dynasty politics, patronage politics was ending and people all over the country were rejecting the party. He also expressed shock over Gandhi's contention that there was no 'dedicated' fisheries ministry. "...They are gold, silver and bronze medal winners in telling lies," Modi said addressing a public meeting in poll-bound Puducherry, as he said people of the union territory were celebrating the "freedom from misgovernance of Congress."

Modi hit out at former Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, implying he headed a 'high command' government that served the interests of a few Congress leaders in Delhi. He also slammed him for "lying" about the complaint made by a woman against the government during the Congress leader's visit here a fortnight ago.

Pitching Puducherry as a region with potential in various sectors, he said the NDA wanted to make it the BEST, saying the acronym meant the UT being a hub of Business, Education, Spirituality and Tourism.

Training his guns against the Congress, whose party-led government fell on Monday after it was reduced to minority in the wake of resignations, he said "the congress culture you saw in Puducherry for five years is how the party works nationally."

"Our colonial rulers had the policy of divide and rule. Congress has a policy of divide, lie and rule. Sometimes their leaders put region against region, sometimes they put community against community." "They are gold, silver and bronze medal winners in telling lies," he said, apparently referring to Gandhi's recent statement in Kerala.

Read: Rahul Gandhi's North-South comment divides Congress

During his Kerala visit on Tuesday, Gandhi had said he was used to a "different type of politics" in north India and coming to the southern state was "very refreshing" as people are interested in "issues", which drew condemnation from the BJP, whose leaders accused him of an opportunistic anti-North bias.

Modi also took on Gandhi over his statement that there was no 'dedicated' fisheries ministry at the Centre, adding the NDA government had set it up in 2019.

"Congress leaders says we will make a fisheries ministry. I was shocked. The truth is, it is the current NDA government that had made a ministry for fisheries in 2019." "The budget allocated for fisheries has grown more than 80 per cent in two years," he said, adding the earlier NDA dispensation under the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee had established a ministry for the tribal communities as well.

Referring to the BJP's sweep of the Gujarat municipal polls, he said the number of wards won by the saffron party was ten times that of his party's archrival Congress.

"This is how big the gap is..," he said.

"People all over India are rejecting Congress. Their seats in parliament are the lowest ever. The Congress culture of feudal politics, dynasty politics, patronage politics is ending. India is young, aspirational and forward looking."

Recalling his earlier Puducherry visit, he said the exceitement and energy is 'excellent' now and that "the winds of change" here are visible today.

He said people were happy for two reasons, with one of them being him earlier launching several developmental works.

The other reason was that people of Puducherry were celebrating was the "freedom from misgovernance of Congress," he said referring to the fall of the Narayanasamy government.

While the people had voted for Congress with great hopes in 2016 that their problems would be solved, after five years they were disappointed and "their dreams and hopes are broken," he said. In 2016, the people of the UT did not get a government of people but one that was serving the high command of the Congress.

"They got a government that was busy serving Congress high command in Delhi." "Their priorites were different. Your former chief minister was an expert at lifting the slipper of his top party leader but did not have the interest to lift people out of poverty in Puducherry," he said, alluding to a past incident involving Narayanasamy and Gandhi.

During a 2015 visit of flood affected areas here, images purportedly showing Narayanasamy holding slippers for Gandhi had gone viral, though the latter claimed he offered his footwear to the Congress leader after he removed his shoes to wade through stagnant water.

"Puducherry deserves a government whose high command is the people and not a small group of Congress leaders sitting in Delhi," Modi added.

He also lashed out at the former CM for "lying", referring to a video recently where he was accused of wrong translation of a woman's speech in Tamil to Gandhi. "A few days ago,the entire nation saw a video. A helpless woman was complaining about Puducherry government, about the chief minister (of) the neglect during cyclone and floods."

"One could see the pain in her eyes. One could hear the pain in her voice. Instead of telling the truth to the nation the former Puducherry CM gave a wrong translation of the woman's word. He lied to the people and his own leader. Can a party whose culture which is based on lies ever serve the people," he asked.

The Congress government had damaged every sector in the UT. Traditional mills were closed and industries were in trouble, Modi said, adding he could understand that Congress does not believe in working for the people.

"What I cannot understand is that as to why Congress does not want others to work," he said and alleged that the Congress government did not cooperate in implementing schemes and funds were not also utilised.

He also wondered why the earlier Congress government had not conducted civic polls despite Supreme Court direction and slammed its "anti-democratic mindset."

Modi appealed to people "to reject anti-democratic forces and support the NDA's governance and restore the past glory of puducherry," in the coming polls, likely in April.


Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox