Amid the slugfest over his "Ravana" jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday said the Bhratiya Janata Party (BJP) is making it an issue to divert people's attention from real problems.
Asked about his "Ravana" remarks on PM Modi, Kharge told reporters here, "This would be my opinion. I do not want to fall prey to this. But by making this an issue, Modi is diverting people's attention from issues like unemployment, inflation, GDP growth, development and poverty."
The Congress chief held a rally in Vaghodia in the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly polls.
Addressing the rally, Kharge said, "Be it panchayat elections or district panchayat elections, everywhere Modi ji comes and seeks vote in his name. Then what work will Panchayat chiefs and MLAs do, when Modi ji wants to take credit alone."
Referring to the MNREGA scheme, the Congress chief said the scheme started by the Congress government ensured employment for the rural poor.
"BJP has always been making fun of the MNREGA scheme, but during the time of Corona, when lakhs of poor were struggling for their lives, it was MNREGA that saved their lives. With the Green Revolution and White Revolution, Congress had ensured the food security of the country's people. We developed Narmada Dam and Amul Dairy and PM Modi asks - what did Congress do?"
Earlier today, PM Modi also hit back at Congress for the 'Ravana' remark.
Addressing an election rally in Panchmahal, he said there is a competition among Congress leaders as to who will use the most abusive words for him.
"I respect Khargeji. He will say what he has been told to say. Congress party doesn't know that this is the Gujarat of Ram bhakts In this land of Ram bhakts, he was asked to call me a Ravan with 100 heads," PM Modi said.
"We know that Congress does not accept the existence of Lord Ram, does not believe in Ayodhya's Ram Mandir. They have a problem with Ram Setu as well. Now, this Congress party has brought Ravan from Ramayan to speak insults about me," he added.
Notably, during a poll campaigning for the Party, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge at a rally in the Behrampura area of Ahmedabad described PM Modi as Ravana, wherein he said, "In all these campaigns, he (Modi) only talks about himself. 'Don't look at anyone else, just look at Modi and vote'... how many times do we have to see your face? How many forms do you have? Do you have 100 heads like Ravan?"
Earlier also Kharge on Sunday lambasted Prime Minister Modi terming him as a "leader of lies".
Meanwhile, the voting for the first phase of the two-phased Gujarat Assembly polls concluded on Thursday at 5 pm with a total voter turnout of 56.75 per cent. The polling is taking place in 89 constituencies spread across 19 districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat.
BJP chief ministerial candidate Bhupendra Patel contested from the Ghatlodia seat. Among prominent candidates, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi contested from Khambhaliya, former Congress leader and BJP candidate Hardik Patel from Viramgam, former Congress leader and now BJP candidate Alpesh Thakor from Gandhinagar South.AAP state president Gopal Italia contested from Katargam constituency, Gujarat Home Minister (State) Harsh Sanghavi from Majura, Rivaba Jadeja from Jamnagar North, former Gujarat minister Parshottam Solanki from Bhavnagar Rural, Kunwarji Bavaliya from Jasdan, Kantilal Amrutiya from Morbi and Jayesh Radadiya from Jetpur.
The second phase of the Gujarat election would be held on December 5.The counting of votes will be done on December 8. Results of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will also be declared on the same day. (ANI)