Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday threw an open challenge to the Congress and asked the party to have someone outside of the Gandhi family as its president for five years.
Leading BJP's campaign in Chhattisgarh ahead of the second phase of elections here - scheduled for November 20, PM Modi said that Congress cannot see anyone outside of the Gandhi family in a position of power. "I want to challenge them, let some good leader of Congress but outside of the (Gandhi) family become the party president for five years," he said at a rally here. "Then I will say that Nehru ji really created a truly democratic party."
Lashing out at remarks made previously by Congress leaders against him, PM Modi also said that the party has been unable to come to accept its long list of electoral defeats and that he is the PM. "These people still have not come to terms that I am the PM, it has been nearly four and a half years. They are still crying, how can a 'Chaiwala' become PM?"
Urging voters in the state to once again shun Congress, PM Modi took the opportunity to congratulate voters in the first phase for coming out in large numbers to exercise their franchise. "Despite the fear of violence, people in the first phase came out in big numbers. Even in Bastar, locals exercised their democratic right and it is here as well as across Chhattisgarh that the spirit of democracy truly thrives. I urge you to continue with the spirit and ensure those who are against development and only play divisive politics are kept at bay," he said.
BJP is looking to ensure that CM Raman Singh gets a fourth term in office even though political analysts have said anti-incumbency could be an important factor in these elections. The Congress, on the other hand, has not declared a CM candidate yet and its hopes of combining with BSP to fight the elections were dashed when Mayawati teamed up with former state CM Ajit Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh.