Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a swipe at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday and said he can understand his pain as the "empowered and aware" residents of Gulbarga have "closed" his account there, apparently referring to Kharge's first-ever electoral defeat in his career spanning over five decades in 2019.
Kharge was defeated by BJP candidate Umesh Jadhav in Gulbarga by a margin of 95,452 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
On Wednesday, the Congress president said the prime minister is always in election mode and is now targeting even his home constituency of Gulbarga.
"Even when Parliament was in session, he went to my constituency Gulbarga (now known as Kalaburagi). The PM had two meetings, not just one," Kharge said as everybody, including the prime minister, laughed in the Rajya Sabha.
Responding to his remarks, the prime minister said on Thursday, "Yesterday, Kharge ji was complaining that Modi comes to my constituency again and again. I want to tell Kharge ji that before complaining he should also see that 1.7 crore Jan Dhan accounts have been opened in Karnataka. Not only that, in his constituency, more than 8 lakh Jan Dhan accounts have been opened."
"When so many bank accounts are opened and people become empowered and aware...someone's account gets closed after so many years. I can understand his pain," Modi said.
Before 2019, Kharge had never lost an election in his long political career and was popularly known as "Solillada Saradara" (a leader who has not faced defeat).