Lok Sabha Elections 2024: At Maharashtra Rally, Priyanka Gandhi’s ‘Ab Ki Baar’ Mantra

Eleven constituencies in Maharashtra will vote in the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls on May 7.

New Delhi:

Giving a twist to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of “ab ki baar 400 paar“, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has said the people have seen through the “theatrics” of the current government and gave a new mantra of her own: “ab ki baar aap ki sarkar, ab ki baar janata ki sarkar” (this time, a government run by you, a government run by the people”.

Attacking the BJP in the crucial state of Maharashtra which, at 48, elects the second-highest number of Lok Sabha MPs, Ms Gandhi said at a rally in Latur on Saturday that the people have decided to vote out this government that has given rise to inflation and unemployment and bring in a dispensation that serves them.

While speaking about the failures of the BJP-led government at the Centre and the Congress’ guarantees, Ms Gandhi was interrupted by someone in the audience who chanted an “ab ki baar” slogan in her party’s favour. 

Seizing on the opportunity to take a dig at the BJP and PM Modi, who have crystallised their target of the NDA winning 400 Lok Sabha seats into the “ab ki baar 400 paar (this time, over 400 seats) slogan, Ms Gandhi said in Hindi, “Ab ki baar aap ki sarkar, ab ki baar janata ki sarkar. You have suffered enough. PM Modi and all his ministers have understood that the people’s mood is changing, that their drama and theatrics will no longer work and the only thing that will work is the truth.”

“Voters want the truth and want to go back to their old religious tradition where every leader bows before the people and realises that he or she has a huge responsibility to them, the biggest being that the truth should be told. A leader’s duty is to serve people and this is a tradition you have inculcated in politicians. But you are now stepping back and are now giving leaders the impression that they can talk about religion and they don’t have to do any work for voters,” she added. 

Giving an example of a voter she met in UP’s Firozabad, Ms Gandhi said the woman told her that she would vote on the basis of religion and caste. This mindset, the Congress leader said, works in favour of leaders and their children, but not for the voters themselves.

“Your vote is for roads in your area, schools for your children, water in your homes and for employment. Don’t vote in favour of a leader or a party, vote in your own favour, for your family, village, city and country. Leaders get arrogant when in power and that’s what you are seeing now,” she said. 

‘Mangalsutra’ Rebuttal

The Congress leader also issued a sharp response to the Prime Minister’s claim of an alleged “wealth redistribution” promise in her party’s manifesto and said he is spreading misinformation to divert attention from real issues.

“A Prime Minister is using his office to talk about things like the Congress stealing your ‘mangalsutras’. This country has seen so many great Prime Ministers – not just from the Congress – like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. But PM Modi has reduced the stature of the office so much that instead of asking for votes using his achievements, he is talking about a political party stealing your ornaments using an X-Ray machine,” he said. 

Pointing to the Congress’ guarantees in Karnataka, which contributed to its victory in the Assembly polls last year, Ms Gandhi said that their successful implementation is proof that the promises in its manifesto carry weight.

Voters in 13 constituencies in Maharashtra have cast their ballots in the first two phases and eleven more seats will go to the polls in the third phase on May 7. The BJP and its ally, the undivided Shiv Sena, had won 41 of the 48 seats in 2019 but the contest is seen as a much closer one this time. 

The BJP, the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena and the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP are battling it out against a coalition of the Congress, Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and the Sharad Pawar faction of the NCP. 

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