Mangalore/Belgaum: Launching BJP's final assault against Congress for May 5 Assembly polls, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday threw barbs at Sonia Gandhi accusing her of "arrogance" and at Rahul Gandhi calling him "Mr. Golden spoon."
With just a day left for the electioneering to end, BJP deployed its posterboy for the final push to the party's prospects in a battle ground that is perceived to be slippery for it dogged by charges of corruption and two splits in the party.
Modi had reportedly shown initial hesitation to plunge into the campaign and addressed a rally in Bangalore on Sunday. Party sources said he was enthused by the responsive gathering in Bangalore that prompted adding one more lap.
"Mr golden spoon (Rahul). You come here and say that there is 'brashtachar' everywhere. Is there 'sishtachar' in Delhi?" said Modi as he took on the AICC vice president who had unleashed a barrage of attacks against the BJP government branding it as a "champion" of corruption.
On Sonia Gandhi, who was also in Karnataka today for election campaign, Modi said. "Sonia madam, you came and made a big speech here.... But you did not touch the issue of price rise. Is price rise not a burning issue?"
UPA had promised to bring down the prices within 100 days of assuming power but did not do so and "should she not have apologised to the people..?" Modi asked the gathering.
"....You are a mother.. At least could you not shed tears for the plight of the poor.. Could you not say two words to assuage their feelings? That is because of your arrogance... Congress' arrogance has gone sky high..", Modi told Gandhi.
He also taunted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying he had been under 'a seige' and hence had become 'silent'.
"It's very difficult for him to speak in Delhi. Because of that, he came out of Delhi that he was able to speak (in Karnataka during campaign). He has to speak only what's given to him in writing", Modi said referring to rallies addressed by Singh earlier this week.
Hitting back at Sonia Gandhi, who in her public meeting at Gulbarga today questioned Karnataka government on utilisation of central funds, Modi said ".. Has the money been given as dowry? We ask you this question."
Modi said it was the people of the state who had deposited crores of rupees and filled the government's coffers. "It is you who after taking money do not give account."
He said people expected the government to bring back the black money stashed away in foreign banks but "you want to protect them. When you talk of corruption, first look at yourself..It is like pot calling the kettle black."
In his barbs at Rahul Gandhi, he reminded him that his father Rajiv Gandhi had stated publicly that every single Rupee becomes 15 paise by the time it reached villages. "This business of Congress is being carried out even today and the Congress had to reply to this".
"BJP was not in power then. From panchayat to parliament, Congress was in power..," Modi said.
Apparently aware of BJP's difficulties in Karnataka and the perceived anti-incumbency factor, Modi asked the gathering, "if there is a problem in your house, will you set fire to it?" The people should save Karnataka from Congress. "We are ready to bow before you and correct ourselves."
In his rally at Mangalore in the coastal belt, a traditional stronghold of the Sangh Parivar, Modi sought to strike the Hindutva chord, talking about "Pink revolution" of UPA government's policy to promote export of meat.
"You must have heard of green revolution (to increase agriculture production) and milk revolution. Now, there is Pink revolution", he said, adding "subsidies and tax rebates were being offered for meat exports."
".. Cows are being slaughtered. We have heard of gold smuggling. Have you of heard of cow smuggling. They are being smuggled to Bangladesh. Cattle is pivotal to agri-based country. Will you give entry to such a party which slaughters cattle..."? the BJP leader said.
He also referred to the death of Sarabjit Singh after a brutal assault in a Pakistani jail, terming it as an "extra judicial killing" and accused UPA government of not showing its "strength" in dealing with the issue.
"I directly blame the government of Pakistan for the murder of Sarabjit Singh. It is an extra judicial killing," Modi said.