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“Shehzade ne ye ailaan kiya hai…”: PM Modi tears into Rahul at Uttrakhand rally

On his first visit to the ‘Devbhoomi’ since the passage of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill in the Uttarakhand Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday tore into Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying that the party which ruled the country for 60 years and has been out of power for only 10 was talking about “setting the nation ablaze”.

“The prince of the royal Congress family has declared that if the country elects Modi for a third term (at the Centre), the country will go up in flames. Those who ruled the country for 60 years and has been out of power for only 10 are now talking about setting the country on fire. Wouldn’t you all give a befitting reply to such people? This time, don’t even allow them in the field of battle,” PM Modi said at a rally at Rudrapur in Uttarakhand on Tuesday.

In another salvo at the Congress, PM Modi said they are so engrossed in appeasement that they could never give primacy to national interest.

“Congress is so engrossed in appeasement that it can never think of the national interest. This is a party that turns a blind eye to infiltrators. Conversely, the BJP, through the CAA, gave citizenship to those who believe in India. However, the Opposition, including the Congress, are standing against it. We all know that it is mostly the (persecuted) Dalits and Sikhs who crossed over into India from other countries,” he said.

Invoking Congress MP from Karnataka DK Suresh Kumar’s controversial remark that the South states would be compelled to demand ‘separate nationhood’ if the Centre continued to ‘neglect’ their fiscal needs, PM Modi said the “Congress does not have faith in democracy”.

“Congress doesn’t have faith in democracy now. They want to push towards towards anarchy and instability. In Karnataka, a Congress leader spoke about splitting the country into two parts. Shouldn’t those who talk about dividing the country be punished? Instead of reprimanding the leader who made such a public statement, the Congress rewarded him with an election ticket,” PM Modi added.

Suresh claimed earlier that taxes collected from the South were being distributed to north Indian states and, Karnataka, like the rest of the southern states, was not getting its rightful share (of taxes).

“It will be enough if the Centre were to give Karnataka its due share of money. We are facing (fiscal) injustice. The Centre is collecting around Rs 4 lakh crore as taxes from Karnataka. But how much are we getting back (as funds)? We must question this injustice as the 16th Finance Commission could be announced shortly. If the Centre doesn’t go into course correction, the South states will soon have to raise their voice and perhaps, a demand for a separate nationhood too will be inevitable. The Hindi-speaking regions are compelling us to do so,” Suresh said earlier.

KPCC chief and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar came in his youngr brother’s defence, saying, “He has only articulated people’s views that the Centre is neglecting us (Karnataka). I believe in ‘Akhanda Bharat’ one India. We believe that the last village in our state, too, should get the same justice as the Hindi-speaking belt.”

PM Modi kicked off the BJP’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Uttarakhand through the massive rally at Rudrapur, which comes within the ambit of the Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency.

Among the 543 Lok Sabha seats, Uttarakhand contributes just five seats and the BJP has fielded Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah, Anil Baluni, Ajay Tamta, Ajay Bhatt, and Trivendra Singh Rawat for these seats.

The people of Uttarakhand will cast their ballots in a single phase on April 19, according to the Election Commission of India.

Uttarakhand has traditionally witnessed a close contest between the BJP and Congress. Both parties see the state as an essential battleground for displaying and gaining supporters for their national narratives.

The BJP had won all the Lok Sabha seats in the elections in both the 2014 and 2019 elections.

With 47 out of 70 assembly seats, the BJP dominated in the 2022 assembly polls, while Congress got 19 seats. BSP and Independents hold 2 seats each.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami who is among the party’s 40 star campaigners for the Lok Sabha polls was also present with the PM’s Rudrapur rally.

Dhami, while addressing the gathering, hailed the leadership of PM Modi and said, “PM Modi has given us a target of over 400 seats in this election. I am confident we will win all five seats in Uttarakhand and contribute towards winning over 400 seats in the country. We all have witnessed how the country has progressed and developed under the leadership of the PM.”

Dhami also mocked at Rahul Gandhi and said that his party has always been ‘failed to launch him again and again’.

“India has made history by reaching the South Pole of the Moon. But Congress keeps making failed attempts to launch its ‘Rajkumar’. When Modi ji says, “Bhrashtachar mitao”, then Congress says, “Modi ko mitao aur Gandhi parivar ko bachao.” Is this right?” Dhami added.

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