Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today accused BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi of "lowering" the standard of political discourse in the country like never before by resorting to unprecedented "vicious personal criticism".
The kind of "negative and abusive" language used by Modi throughout his campaign is unprecedented as no national leader in the country's electoral politics used such language, addressing a press conference, Chavan said. "Earlier, national leaders countering the Congress governments at the Centre debated on policies and issues even though there was the room for personal criticism. However, Modi's entire speech throughout his campaign has been that of vicious personal criticism without talking about his vision for the country," Chavan said.
"We expected him (Modi) to discuss where UPA fell short, what policies he would stop if voted to power and which policies he felt were good and would improve or strengthen, if he assumed the top job. There was no debate on policies," he said, adding that it showed Modi's lack of "intellectual stature".
Chavan said the RSS had marketed Modi like a "new soap brand" in the market who in turn had hijacked the party. "RSS has always believed in dictatorial and authoritarian rule which they want to bring about through Modi. We are confident that the voters will see through this design and defeat such forces," he said. Chavan said people had first been in awe of Modi's "marketing onslaught and overkill", but now are understanding the real fascist face of the RSS.
"I had challenged Modi to debate with me on the development of both Maharashtra and Gujarat but he did not respond as the Gujarat development has been exposed," Chavan added. Chavan said whatever development Gujarat has made was during the tenure of Congress chief ministers Madhavsinh Solanki and Chimanbhai Patel. He said the Congress-NCP campaign had been well organised and there was good co-ordination between the two parties.
"Top leadership of MNS and Shiv Sena addressed rallies in most of the constituencies because they do not contest elections so that they can travel. Ours was a collective and coordinated effort," he said. Chavan said a package of Rs 4,000-crore was prepared for the farmers hit by the hailstorm recently. "Out of this, Rs 1,900 crore has already been distributed," he added. Chavan exuded confidence that the Congress-NCP would better its 2009 tally of 17 and 8 seats respectively. The third and final phase of polling in 19 constituencies in the state will take place on April 24. Meanwhile, MPCC president Manikrao Thakre demanded that VHP leader Pravin Togadia be booked for treason for his alleged hate speech.
"This shows that BJP has realised (that) it's on a shaky ground in the elections," he added.