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New Delhi, Apr 24:  PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a swipe at his rivals over their prime ministerial ambitions, quipping they were all decked up in “Ghunghroo”, the ringing bells worn by dancers on ankles, before occupying the hot seat.

In a  veiled dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying people looking at a mirror 10 times a day and aspiring to become PM cannot even win assembly constituencies in their Lok Sabha seat.

He said the Congress-led opposition, which has been “hurling abuse” at him, was now talking ill of the EVMs after realising the “trend” of three rounds of voting in the general election, “just like a child who makes excuses to justify his underperformance in exams”.

The opposition, on the other hand, stepped up its attack and called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘Prachar Mantri’.

Addressing an election meeting in Hardoi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav attacked the prime minister, saying, “The nation needs a ‘pradhan mantri’ (prime minister) and not a ‘prachar mantri’ (publicity minister).”

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra called the prime minister ‘pradhan prachar mantri’ (chief publicity minister).

“Water from tankers were being used to clean roads to welcome our ‘pradhan prachar mantri’ (chief publicity minister)”, she claimed, accusing the BJP of wasting drinking water to clean roads in Banda, an arid town in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region, ahead of Modi’s visit on Thursday to address an election meeting.

“This is happening at a time when the entire Bundelkhand, the men and women living there, school going children, crops, birds and animals are facing the spectre of drought,” she said.

Speaking at a rally in Jharkhand earlier today, PM Modi said, “People who look at a mirror ten times a day and then daydream about becoming the prime minister…. it’s ridiculous that they cannot even win the assembly constituencies in their Lok Sabha seat.”

The PM’s remarks were an apparent attack on Rahul Gandhi, who is in the fray from Amethi for the fourth time and is pitted against Union minister Smriti Irani, who had lost to him in 2014. Rahul Gandhi is also contesting Wayanad seat in Kerala.

In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the BJP had won four of the five seats under Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, while the fifth had gone to the Samajwadi Party.

Slamming the opposition for raising the EVM issue, PM Modi said “After the trends of three phases of polling, the opposition has come to know which way the wind is blowing. They have been abusing me. Now they are abusing EVM and are angry with the machine. What can the EVM do?” Modi said.

He said the ‘mahamilawatis’ have realised they “stand no chance” after three phases of polling and are looking for excuses to defend their poor show.

“Just like a child who makes excuses to justify his underperformance in exams, opposition parties have started directing their anger at the EVMs and the voting process to cover their shortcomings. The response in the first three phases of polls have left the opposition with no option but to accept defeat,” he said.

At a press meet on Tuesday, leaders of several major opposition parties had questioned the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and renewed their demand that 50 per cent of the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips be matched with the EVM results.

Modi also slammed Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy for his remarks that those who cannot make both ends meet alone join the army, and wondered over the Congress’ “silence” over it.

PM Modi appealed to people to once again elect a government with full majority as only such dispensations could control the menace of naxalism and terrorism.

He asserted his government helps all people irrespective of their religious faith.

“We did not see what (religious) affiliations the 46 daughters of Kerala had. They were freed from terrorists in Iraq. They are your daughters, they are also the daughters of this chowkidar,” he said referring to the rescue of nurses from the southern state, mostly Christians, from the captivity of ISIS terrorists.

With Balakot air strikes in mind, the prime minister said, “It is this chowkidar’s government which knows how to respond to Pakistan and the terrorists promoted by it in their own language. Your government gave a befitting response to the terrorists by entering into their territory and destroying their headquarters.”


Photo: Google