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PM Modi should imbibe qualities of courage, determination from Indira Gandhi, says Priyanka

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Nandurbar (Maharashtra), May 11 (PTI) Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election speeches as "hollow talk", and said he should imbibe qualities like courage and determination from former PM Indira Gandhi.

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Speaking at a rally here to drum up support for Congress candidate Gowaal Padvi from the Nandurbar Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra, a day after PM Modi addressed a public meeting in this tribal-dominated constituency, she accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of not respecting the culture and tradition of adivasis (tribals).

"All that Modiji speaks is 'khokhli baatein' (hollow talk) that does not carry any weight. Yesterday, he said he respects Shabri. So why was he silent when several Shabris suffered atrocities in Unnao an Hathras? Why didn't he raise a finger when women wrestlers were on the streets protesting against the harassment, but the BJP gives ticket to the son of the accused person," she said referring to BJP leader Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is facing sexual harassment charges.

Lord Ram respected the common people and was committed to fulfilling their wishes, she said.

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"What kind of leader do you want? The one who walks for 4,000 km and comes to you to understand your problems or a leader on whose kurta you will not find marks of dust and is scared to come near you. Do you want a leader who wipes your tears or the one who sheds crocodile tears on stage? Do you want a leader who is fearless and speaks the truth irrespective of the pressure or the one who lies throughout," she asked.

She also asked people if they want politics of principles, service and dedication or politics of power and self glory.

Invoking her family's old ties with Nandurbar, she said her grandmother and former PM Indira Gandhi always began her election campaigns from this place.

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"She would preserve whatever you gave to her out of love. My mother learnt how to respect you from Indira Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi worked to safeguard your rights over water and forests," she said.

Indira Gandhi used to visit people's houses with bowed head to understand their problems, she said, adding that Rahul Gandhi went across the country to understand people's aspirations and feelings.

"But show me one photograph of Modi ji visiting the houses of tribals and poor people to understand their problems. He comes to you only to achieve his political motives. If the PM said Rs 15 lakh will be deposited in your bank accounts and two crore people will get employment, it should have been done in 10 years," she said.

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The Congress general secretary said it is the duty of political leaders to respect the culture and tradition of adivasis, she said, adding that the BJP does not have any respect for these things.

"President Droupadi Murmu, who belongs to the adivasi community, was neither allowed to inaugurate the new Parliament building nor participate in the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. When it comes to actually giving respect, Modi ji backs out," she alleged.

"He says he is fighting alone against corruption...You (PM) have all the power and official machinery at your disposal. Your party leaders say you are the biggest leader in the world enjoying support of heads of state across the globe...You cry like a child during elections saying you have been subjected to abuse.... Have guts Modiji, this is public life," she said.

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"Learn from Indira Gandhi...The woman, like Durga, who broke Pakistan into two. Learn from her bravery, courage and determination. But when you call her anti-national, what can you learn from her," she said.

Instead of listening to people's hardships, the prime minister complains about how he was being targeted, Gandhi alleged.

"Politics is a medium of serving people, while Modiji has made politics a means to gain power for himself," she said.

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Describing PM Modi as the "messiah" of billionaires and not of the poor, she accused him of lowering the dignity of the top post.

"It is time to see the reality and vote accordingly. Choose your government carefully, choose what kind of leader and government you want. If you make a wrong decision, no one can stop the direction in which the country is going," she told the gathering.

She said the foundation of Congress' politics is to walk on the path of truth and keeping in mind that people of India are supreme.

That foundation was laid down by Mahatma Gandhi and several leaders of the Congress have followed that principle, she said.

"Why do several BJP leaders speak of changing the Constitution. It is because they have been allowed by PM Modi," she claimed. PTI MR NP

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