NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi sat alongside BJP president Amit Shah at the party headquarters in Delhi after a gruelling fiveweek election campaign to predict a victory bigger than in 2014, while not so far away Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he had successfully “dismantled” the Modi aura. With these claims at their respective press conferences, both parties brought the curtains down on the bitterly fought, high-decibel campaigns for the seven-phase general elections.
The campaigning for the final round of polling on May 19 ended on a highly acerbic note with both Congress and BJP trading barbs over the latter’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur’s remarks calling Nathuram Godse “desh bhakt”. While both Modi and Shah distanced BJP from the controversial remarks, Congress latched on to it saying BJP was not “God-ke Lovers” but “God-se Lovers”. Shah said a showcause notice had been served to Thakur by the party.
Addressing the press for the first time at the party headquarters, Modi exuded confidence on bettering BJP’s 2014 tally, calling the elections “shandaar”.
Ab Ki Baar 300 Paar: Modi
Earlier in the day, in his last campaign stop at Khargone in Madhya Pradesh, he said: “Ab Ki baar 300 paar”.
“We will start work as soon as possible on the promises made in our manifesto once we come to power again,” Modi told reporters, but did not reply to their questions. “For us the party president is everything,” he told media persons as they pressed for answers.
The BJP president claimed that the party would improve its tally across the country. “We will do extremely well in West Bengal and will improve our tally in Maharashtra as well. Even in southern states like Karnataka we will do very well,” Shah said. He brushed aside accusations of corruption by the principal Opposition party in Rafale deal. “If Rahul Gandhi had any evidence, he should have assisted Supreme Court. There is no question of any accusation sticking. Proper procedures were followed,” Shah said.
In sharp contrast, Gandhi refused to make any claim, saying he would not want to pre-judge the results. Terming Congress’ role as an Opposition party as “A-grade”, he said: “We have dismantled the idea of Narendra Modi as it was in 2014…We systematically closed doors that Modi could open. We have closed 90% of his doors and he closed 10% himself. We have fought the BJP, and we have protected the institutions of this country from Modi and RSS.” He refused to give a tally or his expectation from results on May 23 saying he would never “insult” the people’s verdict by pre-judging the results.
Questioning the role of the Election Commission he said, “The role of Election Commission has been biased in this election. Modi ji can say whatever he wants to while we were stopped from saying the same thing… Partiality is definitely there. It seemed that the Lok Sabha election schedule was made for PM Narendra Modi’s election campaigning. This is in front of everyone and the country understands this.”
After the press conference, Gandhi took to Twitter to make light of the Prime Minister’s press conference. “Congratulations Modi ji. Excellent press conference! Showing up is half the battle. Next time Mr Shah may even allow you to answer a couple of questions. Well done!”
Source: Economic Times