In poll-bound Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday targeted Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the last year's murder of a tailor in Udaipur and slammed his government over the issue of women's safety.
Rajasthan is scheduled to have assembly elections later this year and the Election Commission of India (ECI) is expected to announce the schedule soon.
The Udaipur murder was a reference to the killing of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur last year by two men, who killed him in retaliation for extending support to Nupur Sharma, the former spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who was facing national and international condemnation at the time for purported comments disrespecting Prophet Muhammed. Modi accused the Gehlot-led Congress government in the state of vote-bank politics even after such an incident.
"Tell me, had you ever imagined what happened in Udaipur? In the land of Rajasthan where there is a tradition of not attacking even the enemy by deceit, such a big sin was committed. People come on the pretext of getting clothes stitched and cut the tailor's throat without any fear. And proudly make a video and make it viral," said Modi at a rally in Chittorgarh.
The rally in Chittorgarh on Monday was Modi's second rally in Rajasthan within a week.
उदयपुर में जो बर्बर घटना हुई, उससे पता चलता है कि राजस्थान की वीर धरा की छवि को कांग्रेस ने कितना कलंकित कर दिया है। pic.twitter.com/Qey6eoxXti— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 2, 2023
Modi also said that the people need to remove the Congress government in the state that he said has failed to protect their life and property.
"The Congress government was worried about the vote bank in this [Udaipur murder] too. What image of the brave land of Rajasthan has Congress presented to the world? It is not possible to celebrate any Teej or other festival peacefully in Rajasthan. No one knows when riots will break out or when curfew will be imposed," said Modi.
In his speech, Modi also spoke of the crimes against women in Manipur. Lately, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has raised the issue of crimes against women and other social groups like the Dalits to take on the Gehlot government. He mentioned a number of instances of crimes against women.
Modi said, "Here in Barmer, a Dalit woman was raped and acid poured on her. In Suratgarh, a woman was murdered and her body thrown on the road. After gang rape in Bhilwara, a girl was burnt in a furnace. And in Jamwa Ramgarh, a woman was burnt alive."
He further said, "Be it a rioter or a criminal, only the BJP government can correct them, this is our track record…That is why today mothers, sisters and daughters of Rajasthan are saying that they are confident that the BJP will come and bring women security."
राजस्थान की भी मेरी माताएं-बहनें और बेटियां जानती हैं कि मोदी उनको दी हुई हर गारंटी को पूरा कर रहा है। pic.twitter.com/DMyX0FPKe7— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 2, 2023
Modi also slammed the Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan over alleged corruption and said that the action against corruption would despite everything they might say about him.
In recent years, a number of Opposition figures, including from the Congress party, have been implicated in corruption cases by central agencies. The Opposition has claimed such action to be politically-motivated and has slammed Modi for using the investigative agencies for alleged political purposes.
"Action will definitely be taken against those who have committed corruption here and looted the money of the poor. This is also Modi's guarantee. No matter how much these people abuse Modi, strict action against corruption will continue," said Modi.
Further slamming the Gehlot government, Modi said that instead of its heritage and folk culture, Rajasthan is now remembered for crimes against women and anarchy.
"Today, when it comes to anarchy, riots and stone-pelting, the name of Rajasthan is infamous. Today our Rajasthan is becoming the most infamous in cases of atrocities on women, Dalits and backward people...The identity of Rajasthan is of hospitality, folk music, folk culture, bravery. But in five years, the Congress government has ruined the credibility of Rajasthan," said Modi in Hindi, as per PTI.
As for the face of the BJP in Rajasthan, Modi said the 'lotus' —the party symbol— is only face of the BJP.
The BJP has not projected any leader as the chief ministerial candidate so far, even though many considered two-time Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to be a natural choice. While some have interpreted the recent developments as a signal for her eventual CM candidature, there is no clarity in the public by the BJP on the issue.