Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday invoked her Delhi roots during a roadshow in New Delhi and threw an open challenge at Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight the last two phases of the Lok Sabha election on the issue of the “false promises” he made to people.
Priyanka Gandhi, 47, said she was born in Delhi and knows the city like the back of her hand.
Holding her first roadshow in the city in support of Sheila Dikshit, the Congress candidate from Northeast Delhi constituency, she said the people of the city were tired of Modi’s “purposeless talk”.
“Being a Delhi girl, I challenge you to fight the last two phases on the issues of demonetisation, GST, women security and the false promises you made to the people of the country,” she said, as the crowd clapped, cheered and whistled.
Modi had challenged the Congress to fight the last two phases in the name of Rajiv Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi’s father and former prime minister who he has described as “bhrashtachari no. 1”.
Priyanka Gandhi said Modi has been shifting blame on former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, like a school child trying to escape punishment from teachers.
She also accused Modi of “destroying” institutions and the BJP of “playing politics in the name of religion”.
Perched atop a minibus, she said, “I cannot disrespect you (people of Delhi). We are not arrogant like BJP. We know you have made us what we are today.”
“Modi ji has been in Delhi for five years. I was born in the city. I have seen every bylane, every nook and cranny of the city. I will tell you (Modi) what the people of Delhi think. They (people) are tired of your purposeless talk. You keep yourself confined to your Race Course Road residence,” she said.
The prime minister’s officials residence is 7, Race Course Road. The name of the road was changed to Lok Kalyan Marg in 2016.
Priyanka Gandhi accused Modi of indulging in negative politics and said he cannot give a direct answer to questions asked about the work he did in the past five years.
Raking up the issue of GST, she said the new indirect tax regime broke the back of businessmen.
The AICC general secretary also referred to the BJP’s 2014 poll promises, including that of providing 2 crore jobs every year.
“You talk about nationalism. Is securing a better future for the youth of the country not nationalism?” she asked.
She asked the crowd if they got the jobs to which the people responded in the negative.
“He (Modi) failed to protect soldiers, youths and women but who will hold him accountable and who will seek answers from him,” she asked the gathering which replied, “We will.”
“You have to vote and strengthen yourself. He (Modi) is destroying all institutions and they (BJP) are playing politics in name of religion. Delhi is the heart of the nation. Raise your voice…We have had enough,” she said.
The roadshow started in Seelampur, a minority-dominated area, and meandered with a sea of people towards the Yamuna Vihar depot, where it culminated.
The Congress leaders waved at the ebullient hordes of supporters who raised slogans “Desh me aandhi Priyanka Gandhi” and “Priyanka nahi ye andhi hai dusri Indira Gandhi hai’.
As people jostled with each other to catch a glimpse of Priyanka Gandhi, women in the balconies of the houses lining the streets showered her with bucket loads of rose petals.
Her cavalcade curled through the lanes amid a cacophony of claps, hooting, sloganeering and drum beating.
“Sanitation is the main issue here. Manoj Tiwari (the BJP MP seeking reelection from the seat) was never seen here. (Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal cannot run the government,” said Zubair Ahmed, a resident of Seelampur.
Priyanka Gandhi also held another roadshow in support of the party’s candidate for the South Delhi seat, Vijender Singh.
The hour-long roadshow began from Virat Cinema and culminated at the Tigri traffic intersection, after winding its way through people-filled streets.
Slogans of “Boxer bhai zindabad, Priyanka Gandhi zindabad” rented the air, as the two leaders waved at the elated crowd that included people of all ages.
“When I see her, she reminds me of Indira Gandhi. And her entering politics has lent fresh energy to the Congress. Our party will do well,” Om Wati, 54, a former municipal councillor of Delhi, said.