PM Modi & Naidu slug it out on fam­ily matters

The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

De­vi­at­ing from core is­sues of gov­er­nance, the po­lit­i­cal dis­course in the run-up to the gen­eral elec­tion is get­ting in­creas­ingly per­son­alised and abu­sive.

On Sun­day, it was PM Modi who fired the first salvo, ac­cus­ing Andhra Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter Chan­drababu Naidu of be­tray­ing every­body from po­lit­i­cal al­lies to mem­bers of his own fam­ily.

"Why does he (Chan­drababu Naidu) of­ten claim that he is se­nior to me? Yes, he is se­nior to me in things like switch­ing sides, form­ing new al­liances and "back­stab­bing" his se­niors -- just like he de­ceived his father-in-law (NT Rama Rao)," Modi said at a rally in Gun­tur.

The al­lu­sion to NTR rubbed the chief min­is­ter on the wrong side. "I don't usu­ally make per­sonal at­tacks, but Modi is forc­ing me to do so with his com­ments. He speaks about bring­ing about a triple ta­laq law to help Mus­lim women aban­doned by their hus­bands, but he has no answer if any­body asks him about his own wife, Jashod­aben," Naidu said. The Chief Min­is­ter also took ex­cep­tion to PM Modi hint­ing that his son, Nara Lokesh, was be­ing given more promi­nence in the TDP. "Since you have re­ferred to my son, I am men­tion­ing your wife. People, do you know Naren­dra Modi has a wife? Her name is Jashod­aben," Naidu told a pub­lic meet­ing at Vi­jayawada.

Then, he quipped, ‘‘Yes, I am proud to be Lokesh's dad. I have al­ways pro­moted fam­ily val­ues, but as Modi has no fam­ily, he will not un­der­stand them."

Although Naidu was in Vi­jayawada at the time of PM Modi's ar­rival, he did not re­ceive him at the air­port, as pro­to­col de­mands. The chief min­is­ter also ques­tioned the Prime Min­is­ter's pen­chant for wear­ing ex­pen­sive clothes that "cost up to one crore ru­pees".

PM Modi also slammed the TDP chief for join­ing hands with the Con­gress, which he said was a be­trayal of Naidu’s father-in-law and TDP founder, NT Rama Rao. “Naidu had said he would fol­low in NTR’s foot­steps, but is he re­ally do­ing so? NTR had fought for a Con­gress-free In­dia. Muk­tCongress has now be­come dost-Con­gress.”

Re­ject­ing the charge, Naidu said he need not learn moral­ity from some­one who has not shown any re­spect to his po­lit­i­cal guru, LK Ad­vani.

Naidu, who had ear­lier wel­comed de­mon­eti­sa­tion when it was an­nounced on Novem­ber 8, 2016, now called it a "mad

Tugh­laq act". "They scrapped Rs 1000 cur­rency note but brought in Rs 2000 note. How will cor­rup­tion end?" he asked.

PM Modi was greeted by TDP, Con­gress and Left ac­tivists wav­ing ban­ners of "No More Modi" and "Modi Never Again" upon his ar­rival in Andhra Pradesh. Black flags and bal­loons were also hoisted while the Prime Min­is­ter's con­voy was on its way to the venue of the rally in Gun­tur. His ef­fi­gies were set afire in some places.

"Modi's Andhra Pradesh tour is an ut­ter flop. The BJP should re­alise that people are reg­is­ter­ing their protest against his be­trayal of Andhra Pradesh by not at­tend­ing his ral­lies," Mr Naidu said.

The TDP and other op­po­si­tion par­ties ac­cuse the Naren­dra Modi govern­ment of go­ing back on a long-awaited prom­ise of pro­vid­ing spe­cial state sta­tus to Andhra Pradesh.

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