'Congress can't take me on, so insulting my mother': Modi
Bhopal, Nov 24: Narendra Modi on Saturday teared into the Congress over Raj Babbar's remark on the Prime Minister's mother. It was expected that with elections in crucial states round the corner, PM Modi would use irresponsible remarks by Congress leaders to turn the table.
It was something that happened even before Gujarat assembly elections last year when senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar called PM Modi a 'Neech' (Lowly). Modi projected it as an attack on 'Gujarati asmita' and openly said that Congress dislikes him because he comes from a poor and humble background. This, many say, became one of the main reasons for Congress' defeat in Gujarat.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, Raj Babbar, reportedly called PM Modi 'manhoos' (ominous) over the issue of rising fuel prices. Furthermore, Babbar compared the devalued rate of the Indian rupee to the PM's nonagenarian mother, who is around 97 years old.
Modi's response to Babbar's highly irresponsible remark
"My mother doesn't know anything about politics but the Congress is dragging her into it. Congress cannot take me on," Modi said today at a rally in Chhattarpur in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.
"Jab mudde nahi hote, kusanskar bhare hote hain, ahankar saatven aasmaan par hota hai, tab jaakar kisi ki maa ko gaali dene ki himmat aati hai...Azadi ke baad jisne itne saal raaj kiya, us party ke jimmewar log Modi ke saath bhidne ke bajaye, Modi ki maa ko gaali de rahe hain (When there are no issues, they resoirt to these kind of tactics. Only when there is arrogance can someone think about insulting somebody else's mother. The leaders of the party which ruled for many years after the independence cannot take on Modi, so they are insulting Modi's mother," he said. (Image - ANI/Twitter)
What had Raj Babbar said
Babbar's remark comparing the rupee's falling value against the US dollar with the age of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mother kicked up a controversy on Friday, with the BJP demanding an apology from Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Babbar made the controversial remark while addressing a rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh's Indore city on Thursday.
(Before becoming the prime minister) Modi used to say that compared to the (US) dollar, the value of the rupee has fallen to a level where it is almost the same as the age of the then Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh)," Babbar, the Uttar Pradesh Congress chief, had said.
"Mr Prime Minister, at that time, you had not taken his (Manmohan Singh) name out of respect. Although our tradition does not allow this, we wish to say that now the value of the rupee has fallen to the age of your respected mother," he added.
BJP condemned Babbar's remark
The BJP condemned Babbar's remark. The party's national spokesperson Sambit Patra said it was not proper to use unparliamentary words or drag any person's mother into politics. "But the Congress' attitude against the Prime Minister's mother has been improper from the beginning and such language was used even against the Prime Minister," Patra claimed. "Rahul Gandhi should apologise and he should clarify whether he endorses such controversial statements," he said.
What Congress should be wary of
Attacking the Modi-led government on political issues is fine, but Congress must know that a personal attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi will only dent their chances of bouncing back in elections. Modi continues to remain the most popular leader in India. People may have a loads of complaints with the the BJP government at the Centre, but people have faith in Modi.
Congress must recall what happened during the Gujarat elections last year. There was over 15 years of anti-incumbency in Gujarat when the state went to polls and the Congress had made right moves during the campaign to seize on this. But, days before the elections, Mani Shankar Aiyar dropped a bomb by calling PM Modi 'Neech', and this, many say, cost them Gujarat.