PM’s Rajya Sabha Swipe At Sonia Gandhi

'Those Who Can't Win Elections...': PM's Rajya Sabha Swipe At Sonia Gandhi

PM Modi was in Rajasthan’s Jalore to bolster support for the BJP candidate


In an apparent swipe at Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said “those who cannot win elections have deserted the field” and become Rajya Sabha members from Rajasthan. This comes months after Mrs Gandhi was elected a member of the Upper House of Parliament, unopposed. Before her Rajya Sabha stint, Mrs Gandhi has represented Congress stronghold Rae Bareli in Lok Sabha for two decades. She has also represented Amethi for five years. 

The Prime Minister was in Rajasthan’s Jalore to campaign for BJP’s Lumbaram Choudhary, who is taking on Congress’s Vaibhav Gehlot, son of former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The Jalore constituency is a BJP stronghold, with the party winning it consistently for two decades.

In today’s rally, the Prime Minister questioned if Congress MPs representing Rajasthan in Rajya Sabha raised the state’s issues. “The Congress sent a South leader to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan. Has he never spoken about Rajasthan? No. You also sent former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Rajya Sabha. He was unwell, but did you see him in Rajasthan? And now, you have saved another leader. Those who cannot fight elections, win elections have deserted the field and come to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan,” he said, without naming Mrs Gandhi.

Currently, six Congress MPs represent Rajasthan in Rajya Sabha — Sonia Gandhi, Neeraj Dangi, Randeep Singh Surjewala, KC Venugopal, Pramod Tiwari and Mukul Wasnik; only Mr Dangi is actually from Rajasthan.

The Prime Minister said the people of Rajasthan had “punished” Congress in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in Rajasthan. Twelve out of 25 seats in the state had voted in the first phase last Friday. The remaining will vote this Friday.

“Rajasthan is seeped in patriotism. It knows that Congress can never make a strong India. The country does not want such a Congress government. The country does not want the pre-2014 situation to return,” he said.

Attacking the Opposition party with his oft-repeated “remote control” barb, the Prime Minister said, “No one respected the Prime Minister. The government was run by remote control.” The barb is a standard line of attack used by the BJP, in which it claims Mrs Gandhi was the de facto Prime Minister in the Manmohan Singh-led government.

The Prime Minister also took a veiled swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over the 2013 episode in which he had said a UPA government ordinance to shield convicted lawmakers from disqualification must be “torn up and thrown away”. 

“Just imagine, a cabinet note is torn up at a press conference by a ruling party leader. Can such a weak dispensation make the country strong?” the Prime Minister asked, saying that the Congress was responsible for its current situation. “The party that once won 400 (Lok Sabha) seats cannot even contest 300 seats now. They are not getting candidates,” he said.

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