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Modi changing goal-posts, is a stuntman and not statesman: Congress

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: May 7, 2019  | 21:23 IST

(Eds: Rephrasing intro) New Delhi, May 7 (PTI) Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of changing goal-posts and misusing the valour and sacrifice of the armed forces this Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Tuesday said he will go down in history as a "mere stuntman" and not as a statesman. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the prime minister is not answering questions on joblessness, on black money, on economy, and on distress in the MSME sector. Instead, he is talking about "irrelevant issues" as he did not deliver on the mandate given to him in 2014, Singhvi said. He also accused the prime minister of lowering the dignity of the office he holds by allegedly using abusive language against political rivals and of insulting the memory of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in a suicide bombing. The Congress leader alleged that Modi is changing goal-posts only to avoid real issues. "It is really interesting to watch how PM Modi is shifting issues and running from one to another. That is not surprising, when all that one has done is advertising, propaganda and serving the cronies. How else would one hide his failure other than attacking those who aren't around to defend themselves," Singhvi said. "It is bizarre to even hear that the PM wants to contest the next two phases on late Rajiv Gandhi and not on issues of his own making namely joblessness, black money, destruction of economy, killing of MSMEs and unprecedented rural distress," he said. Targeting Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Modi had said, "Your father was termed 'Mr Clean' by his courtiers, but his life ended as 'bhrastachari number 1'." He has also challenged the opposition party to contest the last two phases of this general election in the name of Rajiv Gandhi. Singhvi said Modi fought the last Lok Sabha election on the promise of creating two crore jobs per annum, depositing Rs 15 lakh in every bank account, building 100 smart cities, and making available cheaper petrol and diesel. "We will like to fight the next two phases on these very issues, so that the people are able to see through your diversionary games and assess you for yourself. You were given a historical opportunity by the people of this country. However, you will go down in history as a mere stuntman rather than a statesman," the Congress leader said. At a press conference, he said a number of veteran soldiers and ex-servicemen have slammed the "brazen politicisation" of the armed forces by the BJP and have come on record to say that surgical strikes did take place under previous governments. The BJP has been canvassing on national pride as a major poll plank this election and is also referring to the air strike in Balakot in Pakistan after the Pulwama attack to woo voters. "The BJP and Modiji tried very hard to hide behind the bravery of our armed forces and fight these elections. Instead of answering the nation on Pulwama intelligence failure and later Gadchiroli failure, they propped our brave jawans in BJP advertisements and insulted them by making them 'political pamphlets' for a vote garnering exercise. PM Modi shamelessly called previous surgical strikes as 'on paper' and a 'video game'," Singhvi said. "This is like insulting the armed forces," he alleged. "Call it surgical strikes, call it cross border operations, they have been carried out in the past by the Army," he quoted Lt Gen (retd) D S Hooda, who headed the Northern Command and supervised the 2016 surgical strike on terrorist launchpads across LoC, as saying. Singhvi said the Congress did not politicise the armed forces. "For us, their bravery is not a means to seek votes." He also criticised the PM for his suggestion at a rally that the Congress and the Samajwadi Party had a tacit understanding and were playing politics behind BSP chief Mayawati's back. "PM Modi's spurious charge that opposition to him is 'mahamilawati' and his sinister ploy to take jibes on the Congress party as also Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati fell flat," he said. He alleged that BJP's alliances are based on "rank political opportunism". PTI SKC ABH ABH

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