Modi sounds poll bu­gle in south In­dia, tears into BJP’S op­po­nents

Mint ST - - POLITICS - Yunus Y. Lasa­nia & Sha­ran Poovanna HYDERABAD/BENGALURU

Modi takes jibes at Naidu, Ku­maraswamy and op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics dur­ing ral­lies in AP, Kar­nataka and TN

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Sun­day sounded the poll bu­gle for the forth­com­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in the south In­dian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kar­nataka where his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ceded sig­nif­i­cant ground in re­cent years.

With polls likely to be con­ducted be­fore May, Modi plunged into cam­paign­ing for his party. Suc­cess­fully de­flect­ing some of the op­po­si­tion at­tacks af­ter his gov­ern­ment pre­sented the bud­get, filled with sops for the mid­dle class and farm­ers, Modi tore into his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents in all three states.

Call­ing Andhra Pradesh chief min­is­ter N. Chan­drababu Naidu a “back-stab­ber” for seiz­ing power from Tel­ugu De­sam Party (TDP) founder N.T. Rama Rao (NTR), Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Sun­day said that Naidu has for­got­ten about the devel­op­ment of the state and is now only in­ter­ested in “abus­ing” him. Modi launched a di­a­tribe against the TDP supremo, stat­ing that the lat­ter has failed to live up to NTR’S legacy.

“He (Naidu) keeps re­mind­ing me that he is my se­nior. But he is a se­nior in back-stab­bing his fa­ther-in­hoard­ings law (NTR) and he is a se­nior in los­ing elec­tions, but I am not. You are also a se­nior in sit­ting in the lap of those whom you used to abuse ear­lier. The ‘Naam­daars’ (re­fer­ring to Congress) al­ways dis­re­spected other re­gional lead­ers, which is why NTR founded TDP,” Modi said while ad­dress­ing a pub­lic gath­er­ing near Gun­tur on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Though the two na­tional par­ties are present in most parts of the coun­try, both the Congress and BJP have lit­tle or no pres­ence in most south In­dian states, bar­ring Kar­nataka where the for­mer is in power through an al­liance.

With the po­lit­i­cal vac­uum in Tamil Nadu af­ter J. Jay­alalithaa’s death and the Sabari­mala con­tro­versy in Ker­ala, the BJP has been try­ing hard to en­ter these two states to boost its tally in the up­com­ing polls. But the push­back has been just as hard.

Protest­ing Modi’s visit to Andhra, the TDP had put up huge chief min­is­ter H.D. Ku­maraswamy, call­ing him a “punch­ing bag” whose author­ity was con­stantly un­der threat and chal­lenged ev­ery­day by the Congress, its al­liance part­ner, ren­der­ing him help­less.

“He is threat­ened ev­ery day and he has pub­licly cried about his help­less­ness,” Modi said, re­fer­ring to cur­rent dis­pen­sa­tion in the state as the “ma­j­boor” model.

“They want to im­pose this ‘ma­j­boor’ model across the na­tion,” he added.

Modi’s com­ments comes days af­ter for­mer Kar­nataka CM and state BJP pres­i­dent B.S. Yed­dyu­rappa was ac­cused of try­ing to lure a Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar) leg­is­la­tor to switch sides for mon­e­tary re­turns and plum min­is­te­rial post­ings. The BJP has been ac­cused of try­ing to poach coali­tion leg­is­la­tors and bring down the eight-month old gov­ern­ment ahead of the par­lia­men­tary polls.

The Congress is try­ing to con­sol­i­date the op­po­si­tion par­ties and lead the fight to de­feat Modi in the up­com­ing polls. Ku­maraswamy’s swear­ing-in cer­e­mony in May last year be­came the big­gest plat­form for op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics, in­clud­ing bring­ing on stage tra­di­tional ri­vals to take on the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance gov­ern­ment. But sev­eral par­ties have since pulled out of the rapidly dis­in­te­grat­ing ‘ma­ha­gath­band­han’ or grand al­liance.

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@Dram­s­inghvi

Well Done peo­ple of As­sam, Andhra, and Tamil Nadu. It is prob­a­bly for the first time that en­try of Modi is be­ing op­posed from all the parts of the na­tion.

@arun­jait­ley

If we an­a­lyse Rahul Gandhi’s two speeches on Rafale, they are based on a per­sonal ha­tred for the PM em­a­nat­ing from envy. A failed stu­dent al­ways hates the class top­per.

@Me­hbooba­mufti

Cen­tre’s top pri­or­ity is seem­ingly re­nam­ing his­toric cities & build­ing Ram Mandir. On the other hand, heart­en­ing to see that Pak PM has ini­ti­ated steps to name Baloki for­est re­serve af­ter Guru Nanak ji & cre­ate a uni­ver­sity un­der his name.

PTI

PM Modi ad­dresses a rally in Gun­tur, Andhra Pradesh.

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