Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday addressed a rally ahead of the second phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, scheduled to poll on 20th November.
At the campaign rally, PM Modi hit back at the Congress’ “a chaiwala could become prime minister due to Nehru” barb. The Prime Minister dared the Congress to make someone “from outside the family” as its chief.
“They (Congress leaders) are saying it was due to a great person, due to Pandit Nehru, that a chaiwala became the prime minister…If you so much respect the democracy, do a small thing. If you claim that because of your principles, your faith in democracy, the Constitution and Pandit Nehru, Modi, a chaiwala, could become the PM, appoint someone good from outside the (Gandhi) family as the Congress president for just five years,” PM Modi said.
“If this happens, I will accept that Nehru ji created such a democratic system because of which anyone, (even) a dedicated Congressman outside the family could become the Congress chief,” he added.
Modi also charged the Gandhis with still not being able to come to terms that a “son of a poor mother” could become the country’s prime minister.
He also hit back at the Congress also for questioning demonetisation, saying the move “still rankles” them as the money “stashed under beds and in sacks” was taken away in a single stroke.
He asked Congress to give account of what the four generations of the (Gandhi) family did for the nation.
The “contract of democracy” of the country was not given to a family, he said, adding the (Gandhi) family felt the Britishers had named India after it. Without naming the Gandhis, Modi said they were unable to come to terms that Modi has been a prime minister for four and a half years now “after their four generations ruled the country”.
“They still keep crying. How could a chaiwala sit (on the PM’s chair). How could he? They still cannot fathom how come the son of a poor mother could sit on the ‘raj gaddi’ (throne of power),” he said.
“You can’t understand the difficulties faced by the poor, but a chaiwala can,” the prime minister said.
“They (Congress) have kept the country in the dark with their lies which are ingrained in their minds,” he added.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had said it was due to the institutional structure created by Nehru that even a “chaiwala” (tea seller) could become India’s prime minister. His party colleague Mallikarjun Kharge had also said a “chaiwala” could become the prime minister as the Congress preserved democracy.
At the rally, the prime minister also hailed the impressive turnout in the first phase of polling held in the state on November 10.
“People of Bastar in Chhattisgarh gave a strong response to Naxals by registering record voting percentage in the first phase,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)