PM Can’t Win Sans EVMs: Rahul

The Asian Age.  | Bhagwan Parab and Sonu Shrivastava

India, Politics

Gandhi slammed the PM over the alleged manipulation of EVMs and misuse of central investigative agencies

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during a rally at the conclusion of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, in Mumbai, Sunday, March 17, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Mumbai: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the latter cannot win the elections without the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). “Raja ki aatma EVM mein hai,” he said mockingly at Mumbai.

Concluding his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra at the historic Shivaji Park, Gandhi slammed the PM over the alleged manipulation of EVMs and misuse of central investigative agencies. “Without EVM, Narendra Modi cannot win elections. The soul of the King is in the EVM and every institution of the country – ED, CBI and Income Tax department. The agencies are used to intimidate the opposition leaders and poach them,” he said.

Without naming former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, who recently quit the Congress and joined the BJP, Gandhi said that a leader from Maharashtra Congress left the party saying he did not want to go to jail. “The leader had told my mother Soniaji that I am feeling ashamed that I cannot fight with them (agencies)...I don’t want to go to jail.”

The former Congress president said that many leaders from his party and other parties like Shiv Sena and NCP have been threatened and forced to join the BJP. “There is a word ‘Shakti’ in Hinduism. We are fighting against a Shakti,” he said.

“We had to undertake the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra because today the media does not raise important issues of the country – Unemployment, inflation, farmers’ issue, Agniveer issue. All these issues are not visible in the media today,” Gandhi added.

Upon his arrival at Shivaji Park, Gandhi paid homage to the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and visited the memorial of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray to offer his respects.

Meanwhile, the leaders of opposition INDIA bloc put up a grand show of strength as several top opposition leaders attended the concluding grand function of Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra. Prominent among them were Tamil Nadu CM Stalin, Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray, NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar, RJD leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren, former CM Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren, general secretary of Communist Party of India Dipankar Bhattacharya, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj and Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of BR Ambedkar.

Speaking on the occasion, Sharad Pawar said that there is a need to change the state of the country by giving a call ‘Chhodo BJP.’ “In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi had given a call of ‘Chhodo Bharat’ (against the British) from Mumbai. From the same city, we should now decide to make the country free from the BJP,” he said.

Pawar alleged that the PM cheated the country by making false promises. “He gave assurances to farmers, women, Dalits, Adivasis, but did not fulfil them. Such people should be removed (from the power),” he added.

Uddhav Thackeray hit out at “Modi ka Parivar” slogan saying that Modi’s family includes only him and his chair. He claimed that the BJP need a brute majority to change the constitution and name of the country. “The country, not an individual, should be our identity. We are fighting to save the democracy and the country. Dictatorship ends when people unite together. The motto in Lok Sabha elections should be “Ab ki baar, BJP Tadipaar,” he said.

Expressing confidence that the INDIA bloc will form a secular and inclusive government at the Centre, M.K, Stalin criticised the BJP saying that there is no bigger threat to India than the saffron party. He also described the electoral bonds as “white collar corruption” of the ruling BJP.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done only two things in the past ten years – foreign trips and fake propaganda. We have to stop this. He has started defaming us (opposition) as corrupt, but electoral bonds proved that BJP is corrupt. It’s white collar corruption of the BJP,” the Tamilnadu CM said.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi visited Mani Bhavan in the morning and paid his respects to Mahatma Gandhi and then took out the Nyaya Sankalp Padayatra till August Kranti Maidan. He was accompanied by General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi, actress Swara Bhaskar and officials of social organizations.