MUMBAIl: With barely a week left for Maharashtra to elect its new government, the campaign for the Assembly elections still revolves around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pushing pressing issues that the state faces to the periphery.
Major political parties in the state discussed corruption, unemployment and infrastructure, until the Prime Minister hit the campaign trail. Since then, every party leader has been flaying Modi for evincing interest in a state election while holding the top post in the Union Government.
Modi is scheduled to address 23 rallies in the state. No PM has addressed so many rallies in a state election so far.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had fired the first salvo at Modi. “The PM needs to do many things in Delhi. I wonder how Modi can keep the government in a standstill to campaign in Maharashtra,” he said.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray, who claims to be a Modi fan, sarcastically called Modi “the PM of Gujarat”. “With the speed at which he (Modi) is holding rallies, I think he will campaign for the local governing body elections too. Modi has focused on Maharashtra because he wants to control the (country’s) financial centre, Mumbai,” Raj said.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also taunted Modi over his statement that he would not utter a word against the Sena as a mark of respect to the party’s founder, the late Bal Thackeray. “If he had any respect for Balasaheb he would not have allowed the break-up of BJP-Sena alliance. Modi is trying to divide the state,” he said.
Congress leader and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan called Modi “desperate” and compared him to Fuehrer. “Modi is ill- equipped in matters of governance, international affairs and policy making. He wants to run the state through remote control and has turned the BJP into a party which can be equated only with the Nazis,” Chavan said.
Modi, however, has refrained from responding to the jibes. “They are targeting me. They did the same six months ago. Have they forgotten the lessons learnt at the time?” he said at a rally.
“Modiji has been receiving tremendous response in his rallies across the state. People don’t like politicians who speak against him. It will lead to the polarisation of votes in our favour like it happened in the LS elections,” a BJP official said.