A combative Narendra Modi today took on the Election Commission, accusing it of not acting impartially in the wake of complaints of booth rigging in West Bengal, Bihar and western Uttar Pradesh and dared it to take action against him.
"Why are you not acting? What is your intention? If you feel wrong about what I am saying now, then you are free to lodge another case against me," Modi told an election rally in Asansol.
Modi's attack on the EC came days after an FIR was lodged against him following a direction from the poll panel which said he had violated electoral laws by displaying his party symbol after casting his vote in Gandhinagar and addressed a press conference soon thereafter.
The BJP Prime Ministerial candidate accused the EC of having failed to take appropriate action in dealing with complaints of poll violence and booth rigging in West Bengal, Bihar and western Uttar Pradesh.
"It is your responsibility to ensure impartial polls. I am making very serious allegations against you," he said, adding, "You have failed to stop rigging and violence in these areas. False cases have been filed against our candidate Babul Supriyo. Election Commission's work is to protect people. I request you to fulfil your responsibilities in the right way."
He said that the poll watchdog has all the government machinery at its disposal and enjoys more powers than even the Prime Minister.
"Democracy doesn't work like this, I know that in the elections on 30th, how much rigging took place. Will this game go on?" he asked.
Modi recalled that he had said in Uttar Pradesh also that in some areas problems are going to happen.
"But Election Commission could do nothing. Today I am saying it again that in Bengal, Bihar and western Uttar Pradesh the same thing is going to happen. Is it not the responsiblity of the Election Commission that elections should be peaceful, there should be no rigging, no violence?," he said.
In Bankura, Modi took a swipe at Mamata Banerjee over her dubbing him as a "paper tiger", saying a real tiger is one who jails those involved in the Sarada chit fund scam and gets back money of the poor.
Modi, however, said that Banerjee's attack on him would not deter him in helping Bengal if BJP comes to power at the Centre and a strong BJP government would also ensure that the West Bengal Chief Minister does her job seriously.
"A tiger is the one who sends those involved in Sarada chit fund scam to jail, investigate the matter and get back the money of the poor.
"I am surprised. Didi, why are you afraid of a paper tiger. If a paper tiger has proved this costly for her, then what will happen if a real tiger comes before you," Modi said while addressing a rally here.
The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate said the real tigers of Bengal were its youth.
Three days back, Banerjee had taken swipe at Modi, saying there was a difference between a 'paper tiger' and a Royal Bengal Tiger.
"Didi has bad-mouthed me, launched attacks and levelled false charges. But let me assure you that I will serve people of Bengal and work for them. I believe in politics of change and not revenge," he said, adding that Bengal had suffered injustice for 60 years because of the central government.
The West Bengal Chief Minister and Modi have launched vitrolic attacks against each other over several issues .
Modi also alleged that Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress make friendship in Delhi but claim enmity in Bengal.
"Didn't they eat in the same plate in UPA-1 government? In Delhi they do the politics of friendship," he said.
Lashing out at the Trinamool Congress for claiming to be a do-gooder for Muslims, he said the minority community was far better-off in his state Gujarat than West Bengal.
"Muslims in West Bengal have to force the Trinamool Congress government to do politics of development for them instead of indulging in votebank politics," he said.
Raising the issue of Bangladeshi infiltrators who were allowed into the country for "votebank politics", Modi said they would have to go back, while refugees who have been thrown out of Bangladesh on religious grounds would be greeted with open arms.
"BJP's position is very clear, votebank politics has destroyed the country... Those who are Bangladeshi infiltrators, will have to go back," he said.
Because of BJP and RSS backing Modi can dare the EC. Had Mulayam,Laloo or Mayawati challenged the government authorities they would have been charged with sedition.
EC is a chicken. They just file FIRs and issue warning but no action. Just go on doing what you like. Its all part of the election drama. Rigging too takes place every time. In such a large country with weak law and order its not easy to conduct elections.
Modi should have spoken soon after the bombay and Pune elections when lakhs of voters were deleted from rolls.
His attack has come late.
Overall, the conduct of EC this time has been a disgrace.
Modi is showing his bravery by an attack on a statutory commission, knowing full well that such criticism will not bring any charges. Such a penchant for crowd adulation is most unbecoming in someone who seeks national leadership.
We have been treated to a teaser trailer - a sneak peek - of the shape of things to come, and the fate of respected democratic institutions, when Narendra Modi becomes PM after May 16th.