Nizamabad/Mahbubnagar: Addressing his first election rally in Telangana ahead of the December 7 Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lacerated Telangana’s ruling TRS and the Congress for perpetuating “family rule” and pursuing “vote bank” politics that destroyed development like “termites”.
Calling the two parties two sides of the same coin, Mr Modi recalled caretaker chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s “apprenticeship” with the Congress while he served as a minister in the UPA government, and claimed that the two parties are playing a “friendly match” in the Assembly polls.
The Prime Minister criticised the Congress for destroying India on all fronts. “Now they (Congress leaders) are pointing out my caste, age of my mother and name of my father. Are these the issues for election debate in the country?” he asked.
The TRS chief hit back accusing the Prime Minister of lying for the sake of votes and the Congress hit out at Mr Modi for using “politics of victimhood” in his poll campaign to escape accountability and divert public attention from the “failures” of his government.
Earlier, Mr Modi said, “The Congress and the TRS are two faces of the same coin. Both parties are competing against each other on who tells more lies.”
He invoked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to claim that had the political titan not been there, Indians would have needed Pakistani visa to visit Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana. Patel is widely credited for the annexation of the princely state of Hyderabad whose Muslim ruler did not want to join the Indian Union.
At an election rally in Nizamabad, the Prime Minister said, “The chief minister of Telangana and his family think they can get away with doing no work like the Congress... They have adopted the style of the Congress which ruled for 50-52 years without doing anything. But that cannot happen now.” Mr Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha represents Nizamabad in the Lok Sabha.
Mr Modi said that the TRS government has failed to fulfil the aspirations of Telangana people. “If the BJP is voted to power in Telangana, simultaneous development will be possible like double engine force,” he said.
Mr Modi sought to invoke “Telangana pride” when he referred to AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi’s recent remark that whoever became the chief minister of Telangana or undivided Andhra Pradesh had to bow before his party.
“ Will you want a CM who bows at the feet of some leader instead of the people of Telangana?” asked the Prime Minister at another rally at Mahbubnagar.
Mr Rao’s TRS has friendly ties with AIMIM of Hyderabad MP Owaisi.
Mr Modi noted that Mr Rao had once said he would transform Nizamabad into a smart city like London but the place was still grappling with shortage of water, electricity and proper roads.
Mr Rao took strong exception to the Prime Minister’s comments, saying “How can you tell such a lie...I challenge you...Being in the responsible position of the Prime Minister you should not lie for the sake of votes.”
Voting for the 119 seats in Telangana will be held on December 7 and the results will be declared on December 11.
The Congress, which released its manifesto for Telangana polls on Tuesday, accused the Prime Minister of being solely responsible for lowering the level of public discourse in politics in the country and asked him to adhere to the advice of his predecessor Manmohan Singh to conduct himself in a manner which is worthy and consistent with his obligations as Prime Minister.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that in 2014 the people of the country gave Mr Modi a “full mandate”, but instead of fulfilling the promises made to them he is pursuing “politics of victimhood”.