Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday latched on to the ‘Chaiwala’ meme to hit out at the Congress party and said he only sold tea, never the nation, referring to the numerous scams under the UPA government.
Pushing the campaign in the poll-bound state into high gear, he extended the attack on the Congress and Gandhi family from one rally to another.
At Rajkot, in his second rally for the day, Modi asked the Congress not to mock his “poor origins”. “The Congress dislikes me because of my poor origins. Can a party stoop so low? Yes, a person belonging to a poor family has become PM. They so not hide their contempt for this fact. Yes, I sold tea, but I did not sell the nation,” Modi said.
He also took a veiled dig at the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, saying that Congress is learning from their hit-and-run style politics.
“A new party came up in Delhi, whose style is to keep abusing and running away. I thought the Congress, being an older party would not indulge in such politics but they have also taken this short cut in the past two months and only hurled abuses and lies,” he said.
The PM was responding to the meme posted on the twitter account of Yuva desh, a youth magazine of Congress, which mocked him for his poor English skills and said that he should restrict himself to selling tea.
The meme went viral for all the wrong reasons and the BJP has used it in its high-voltage campaign in the state. The party had set up tea stalls in all the over 50,000 voting booths across the country on Sunday.
Party leaders, including BJP chief Amit Shah and finance minister Arun Jaitley, sipped tea with party workers and supporters as they tuned into the PM’s radio address – Mann ki Baat.
Congress was quick to issue a rebuttal, saying that Modi was just using the controversy to gain sympathy ahead of the election.
“Narendra Modi is an expert in marketing. When a person holds a post, discussions are done on his performance and not his economic status. He is saying such things to gain sympathy ahead of the election,” Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, said.
Former union minister Anand sharma also hit back and gave the Prime Minister a history lesson. “Maybe he forgot that Lal Bahadur Shastri belonged to a poor family. Manmohan Singh came to India as a refugee and was from a poor family too. The PM must recall Indira Gandhi's slogan of 'garibi hatao'. She nationalised banks so poor can get money easily,” he said.