Modi can’t win polls without EVMs, ED, CBI: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi during the INDIA bloc rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, Maharashtra, on March 17, 2024.

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi during the INDIA bloc rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, Maharashtra, on March 17, 2024.
| Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini/ The Hindu

Launching a fierce criticism against the Narendra Modi government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the battle transcended mere political rivalry, focusing instead on what he termed the encroachment of power, referring to it as “shakti”.

“People think we are fighting against one party or one man — Prime Minister Modi. No, we are not. Our fight is against a Shakti. Like someone said, this king’s [Mr. Modi] soul is in EVM, true. Even in every institution, ED, CBI and I-T,” he said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray said Shivtirth (Shivaji Park) was chosen to overthrow the dictatorship in New Delhi. “The BJP is like a balloon; we had inflated it but unfortunately, we only filled air in that balloon to help it fly higher,” he said. “Abki baar, BJP tadi paar [This time, let’s finish BJP],” the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra said.

Addressing the opposition INDIA bloc rally at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, a day after the conclusion of his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Mr. Gandhi said Mr. Modi won’t be able to win the Lok Sabha elections without “EVMs, ED, CBI and Income Tax” and accused the ruling dispensation of subverting democratic institutions. “We asked the Election Commission to count the VVPAT [Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail] also. But our demand hasn’t been accepted,” he said.

Also Read | Electoral bonds are ‘white-collar corruption’ of the BJP, says Stalin

‘Monopoly over corruption’

He accused Mr. Modi of being a puppet serving a hidden power, questioning his leadership and integrity. “He is a ‘mask’ who works for a ‘shakti’ [power]. He is a shallow man who doesn’t have a 56-inch chest,” the Wayanad MP said, alleging that the Prime Minister had a “monopoly over corruption”.

Mr. Gandhi pointed out political manoeuvres within parties such as the Shiv Sena and the NCP, hinting at coercion into alliances. “Do you think the Shiv Sena and the NCP people split and joined the ruling alliance just like that? Opposition leaders are threatened to join the BJP. They are held by the neck and forced to join the party,” he said.

In an oblique reference to former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who joined the BJP recently, the Congress leader said: “A leader from Maharashtra cried in front of his mother Sonia Gandhi, saying he felt ashamed that he could not “fight this power anymore and didn’t want to go to jail.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said Mr. Gandhi was the future hope of India.

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, NCP (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Prakash Ambedkar and other leaders of the opposition INDIA bloc were present in the mega rally.



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