PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist
PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist

Gujarat: The political discourse in the ongoing Gujarat election campaign touched a new low when Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday alleged that former Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer, along with some senior Congress leaders, had met senior Pakistani leaders before making the “neech” comment against him.

The Prime Minister cited a ‘media’ report to virtually allege anti-national inclinations of a senior leader of the Congress party (Mani Shankar Aiyer) who has been a prominent member of the Indian Foreign Service.

Speaking at Palanpur in north Gujarat on Sunday, Modi said the Pakistan’s high Commissioner, a former minister of Pakistan, a former Vice President (Hamid Ansari) and a former Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) had met in Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house for three hours and the next day Aiyar called Modi “neech”.

This is a serious matter, he stated, almost by innuendo suggesting a link between the meeting and Aiyer’s disparaging comment. Interestingly, the Prime Minister had paid an impromptu visit to Pakistan to attend a private function of the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. This was duly pointed out on Sunday by Congress leader Randeep Surjewala who found a strange dichotomy in the surprise stopover of the prime minister and his reservations about the neighbouring country.

The Congress communications in charge also asked Modi why officials from Pakistan were allowed to visit the Pathankot terror attack site. The government had faced criticism for allowing a Joint Investigation Team to visit the air force station in March 2016 as Pakistan has not acted against the perpetrators.

The Prime Minister also raised questions about the alleged expression of support to senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel as the Chief Minister of Gujarat by the former director general of Pakistan Arshad Rafiq. Modi again raised the issue while speaking at Sanand near Ahmedabad.

Electioneering is plummeting to subterranean levels as the ruling party in Gujarat pounds the opposition in a desperate bid to maintain its two decade long hold over Gujarat. For all available estimations, the first phase of polling seems to have gone against the BJP with heavy polling reported from Patidar dominated areas.

As campaigning enters the final round with the votes to 89 seats already cast and for the remaining 93 slated for December 14, it is a gridlock and the Prime Minister seems to be stretching every sinew and muscle to overcome a two decade long jetlag and anti-incumbency that is weighing down his party.

Speaking at Sanand, Modi pointed out the development that has taken place in the region after the Tata Nano plant had relocated to Sanand and said that the farmers of the region, who earlier found it difficult to even mortgage their land, now have “Chaar bangdi wadi gadio” (car with four bangles, referring to the Audi) in their house.

Meanwhile, in a synchronized assault, BJP National President Amit Shah also raised questions about the meeting between Mani Shankar Aiyar, Manmohan Singh and Hamid Ansari and sought to know what message does the Congress wants to transmit to the voters in Gujarat.

Shah, while speaking to media, also alleged that the Congress is trying to consolidate its vote bank by fielding Salman Nizami, who is committed to the cause of Kashmir’s liberation and says “Har Gharse Afzal niklega,” and leaking his presence; he maintained that people are well aware of such machinations of the Congress.

The electioneering in Gujarat, it seems, is becoming outright dirty.

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