Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday blamed BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal for the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, an emotive issue in Punjab. In her first election rally in Punjab for the Lok Sabha polls, Priyanka also mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for suggesting that a cloud cover had helped IAF planes evade Pakistani radars during the Balakot air strikes.
"The soul of Punjab will be lost if anything happens to Guru Granth Sahib. Their (BJP's) own ally indulged in sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib for political gains and votes," she said at the rally in Bathinda, an Akali Dal bastion where Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal is contesting against the Congress' Amrinder Singh Raja Warring. The Congress and the SAD have been trading barbs over the 2015 sacrilege of religious scriptures and police firing incidents.
Priyanka invoked the teachings of Guru Nanak -- 'tera, tera' (yours, yours) and 'sarbat da bhala' (welfare of everybody). "But their (BJP's) ally was only for 'mera mera' (mine, mine)," she said, without naming the SAD.
The Congress leader also spoke in Punjabi to strike a chord with the crowd. "I am happy to be here. My husband (Robert Vadra) is a Punjabi. He has always faced each challenge with a smile.
"I salute the land of Punjab and the Punjabi community. The Punjabi community always faces challenges with a strong will and always remains happy and in a state of 'chardi kala' (optimism)," she said. Priyanka pointed out that she had come to know about Modi holding a rally in Bathinda a day ago.
"I have also learnt that the clouds of Bathinda gave answers to his spate of lies," she said, referring to the strong winds that had uprooted some tents in the prime minister's rally. "Whether it is strong winds or storm or cloudy weather, but the truth about him has now come on the people's radar," the Congress leader said.
Priyanka also accused Modi of spreading propaganda and lies. "When you hear his propaganda, then you will feel as if no development took place in the past 70 years. All the development took place only in five years (of his tenure)," she said.
"Perhaps his radar should be on his promises," she said, while taking a jibe at Modi's "unkept" promises of depositing Rs 15 lakh in people's bank accounts, doubling farmers' income and creating 2 crore jobs. She alleged that land, sand, liquor, transport mafias and 'chitta' (drugs) flourished under the erstwhile SAD-BJP rule.
Priyanka accused Modi of visiting a number of countries, but not having time to meet the poor and farmers in his constituency, Varanasi. "The PM has visited America, hugged Obama ji (the then US president Barack Obama), went to Japan and played drums there. Africa, Europe, whichever name you take, China, Pakistan -- where he had biryani," she said.
Later at a roadshow in Pathankot, Priyanka again hit out at Modi, accusing him of doing politics in the name of martyrs. She asked voters to choose between him and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, also her brother, who she dubbed "son of a martyr".
"Do you want the country to progress or the country to be misled through them (BJP people)? Do you want a PM who is doing politics on martyrs or you want son of a martyr (as PM). You decide," she said. Priyanka described Modi as the "biggest 'abhineta'" (actor), who, she said, had spent the last five years campaigning with "lies and falsehoods".
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)