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Congress leader Charan Das Mahant's 'confront Modi' remark triggers row

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Raipur, Apr 3 (PTI) Senior Congress leader Charan Das Mahant has triggered a controversy with his criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a poll rally while underlining the need to "confront him".

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He was speaking at the rally on Tuesday held at Rajnandgaon in support of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, the party's Lok Sabha candidate.

Mahant, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, called for support for Baghel's victory in the Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha seat, hailing him as a champion of women and farmers.

During his speech in the local dialect, Mahant urged the public to ensure Baghel's success for their future well-being.

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"We need a protector who can stand up against Narendra Modi, and your MP (referring to Baghel) is that person. We want someone who can hold a stick and confront Narendra Modi", he said.

These remarks stirred controversy, drawing a swift response from the ruling BJP, which condemned Mahant's statements, predicting that the people of Chhattisgarh would rebuke the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In a sharp reaction, BJP's state in-charge Nitin Nabin criticised Mahant's comments as "cheap and indecent", asserting that the electorate would respond to such behaviour through their votes.

Nabin challenged Congress to first engage with him directly rather than resorting to such rhetoric.

"The people of Chhattisgarh will not tolerate such disrespectful remarks, and this will reflect in the elections. History has shown that derogatory comments against leaders like Modi have only backfired, and the people have responded fittingly," he said. PTI TKP SKL NSK

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