Claiming that Union minister Smriti Irani will defeat Rahul Gandhi in the battle for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat, the BJP on Friday took a dig at him, asking if Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s comments about her party putting up candidates to eat into BJP votes also referred to the Congress president.
BJP leader and Union Minister Piyush Goyal told a press conference that the people of Amethi do not want an MP like Gandhi who visits the constituency like a “tourist” once in five years, and that they will vote for Irani, the saffron party’s nominee, to speed up development in the area.
The Congress has “betrayed” Amethi, which goes to the poll on May 6, by keeping it mired in poverty and underdevelopment, he claimed.
The BJP’s attack on the Congress chief came a day before its scheduled roadshow in the constituency, which will be attended by its president Amit Shah, to boost its prospects in the Gandhi family’s pocket borough.
Goyal claimed that Irani would have defeated Gandhi in the 2014 polls if her name was announced earlier than it was.
However, she still managed to reduce his margin of win to a little over 1 lakh from over three lakh in 2009, the BJP leader said.
Referring to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s comments that her party had put up such candidates in Uttar Pradesh that they will either win or cut into the BJP’s votes, Goyal said she might have her family members in her mind. She is Rahul Gandhi’s sister.
The Railway minister also alleged that opposition leaders are being seen standing with terrorists and the countries supporting them due to their stand on issues of national security, including the UN designating Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
The Congress government was unable to get the required support from world powers to have Azhar declared as a global terrorist due to its “weak leadership”, Goyal said, adding that this had resulted in India finding itself isolated following terror attacks in the country.
Due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy and his “personal relations” with world powers, things have changed now as major global powers have backed India while Pakistan was isolated, he said.
“Some opposition leaders are upset and raising questions,” the Union minister said.
Goyal also cited a Gallup survey to assert that over 70-75 per cent Indians feel the country is safer under Modi.
The BJP leader also took a swipe at Congress leader Anand Sharma over his claim that the Indian economy under Modi had suffered while it was in a good shape under the UPA.
Goyal asked mockingly if Sharma’s comments were shown on a cartoon channel.
He also rejected the Congress’s claim that the BJP government worked for the rich, saying everybody knows who supported the opposition party in Mumbai, an apparent reference to endorsement of Congress candidate Milind Deora by some leading industrialists, including Mukesh Ambani.
The Modi government has worked for the poor and the middle class, he said.