Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today hit back at the BJP for the recent “father-son” barb by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on her brother and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. “They should not have said that about my mother. She is the widow of a martyr. My mother has given her life to this country,” Priyanka Gandhi told NDTV during an election campaign in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli.
The Congress leader said her mother Sonia Gandhi saw her husband (former PM Rajiv Gandhi) killed and brought “his mutilated body” home. “What was the need to say such things about her? Why did they have to drag her into this dirt?” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi said elections should be fought on values, ideologies and issues, and not on “insulting others” or such “frivolous things”.
The Assam Chief Minister had drawn flak for a controversial remark against Rahul Gandhi. At an elections rally in Uttarakhand, he had attacked the Congress MP for asking for proof of an Army operation inside Pakistan’s territory. “If our soldiers have said they carried out the attack inside Pakistan, that’s final. Don’t you believe Bipin Rawat or soldiers? Have we ever asked if you are really Rajiv Gandhi’s son or not? So don’t disgrace the soldiers,” Mr Sarma had said.
The Congress General Secretary also accused the BJP of misleading the people by keeping them busy with divisive agendas in an attempt to get away with misgovernance and lack of development.
“Unemployment, inflation, farmers’ issues, atrocities against women and Dalits – these are the real problems. Political parties that are not addressing these crucial matters, but keep raising frivolous issues. It’s clear why they are doing it. It’s because they have no answers on the jobs they created in the last five years, and how they kept rising inflation in check. Could anyone have imagined that gas cylinders would cost Rs 1,000? That mustard oil would cost Rs 200?” she said in an interview with NDTV.
Priyanka Gandhi accused the BJP of deliberately keeping people in financial distress and unemployed so that they could be easier to provoke and divide on the basis of religion and caste. “That’s how you ask for votes and think you’ll do it every five years. You think you will get away with it and people won’t question why you didn’t create jobs or improve infrastructure. But the people are asking this time,” she said.
On BJP’s repeated reference to Pakistan, Jinnah, and bulldozers, she said those are diversionary issues and the focus should be on the economy. “Nobody imagined there would be demonetisation, GST, strict Covid lockdowns that would push small manufacturing units to the brink of shutting down. These are not issues for you? You are talking about Pakistan and bulldozers,” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi also accused the BJP-led government of favouring big industrialists at the cost of the common people. “The BJP believes that the goal of politics is just to stay in power and benefit their big industrialist friends by framing policies favourable to them and selling off public sector companies,” she said and added that her party’s view of development is entirely different.
“The government is meant to serve the people. This is our primary ideology,” she added.
On Congress MLAs jumping ship, she said only those with courage can win the fight that the Congress is engaged in and not those who get jittery at threats and intimidation from the Centre.
The elections to the 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh are being held in seven phases this time. The polls for the first two phases were held on February 10 and 14. In the third phase, 59 assembly seats across 16 districts will vote on Sunday. As many as 627 candidates are in the fray in the phase, in which over 2.15 crore people are eligible to vote.
Election results will be announced on March 10.