“He has wasted thousands of crores of rupees in advertisements, publicity and marketing”

Shortly after the Election Commission announced the Lok Sabha election schedule, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that democracy and Constitution had come under threat in his regime. “Mr. Modi has failed to maintain the dignity of the office he holds. He is resorting to gimmicks to win the polls,” he said.

Mr. Gehlot said Mr. Modi had not only treated the Opposition with contempt during the last five years but had also undermined the institutions and created an “atmosphere of fear and intimidation” for industrialists, bureaucrats, politicians, and media houses. “If all the Opposition parties are feeling like this, there is a substance in it.”

In a series of tweets, Mr. Gehlot said Mr. Modi was trying to create an impression that the Opposition was questioning the valour of Armed Forces after the Pulwama terror attack and the air strikes in Balakot. “Nothing can be farther from the truth than this. Congress president Rahul Gandhi was the first person to publicly say that the party is with the government,” he said.

‘Time for change has come’

“The Prime Minister is trying to divert the attention of voters. We have simply asked for clarification in the wake of conflicting claims about casualties in air strikes. We were first told that 350 persons had died, then the figures were reduced to 250, followed by the claims that the attack was done only to show the prowess of Indian Air Force. On its part, the Air Force said it was for the government to give the figures,” Mr. Gehlot said.

Mr. Gehlot said the Opposition was within its rights to demand that the questions raised by the foreign media about the Balakot air strikes should be properly dealt with to ensure that no one defamed India.

“The way Mr. Modi addresses the public and misleads them through the cacophony of words puts him in the role of an actor. He has wasted thousands of crores of rupees in advertisements, publicity and marketing…He would have succeeded as an actor,” Mr. Gehlot said.

Mr. Gehlot said that the time for change had come and the “popular will of people” would get reflected in the election results to be announced on May 23. He also alleged that the Prime Minister’s Office had exerted pressure on the Election Commission to delay the announcement of election schedule until Mr. Modi’s inauguration and stone laying events were completed.

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