AHMEDABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday kick-started his election campaign in the poll-bound Gujarat, where he addresses back-to-back four rallies.
While addressing the rallies in Bhuj in Kutch district, Jasdan in Rajkot, Chalala in Amreli and Kadodara near Surat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) star campaigner hit out at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and took on the opposition Congress on issues related to China, Lashkar-e-Toiba's Hafiz Saeed, the surgical strike as well as corruption.
Following are the key quotes from PM Modi's rallies:
On the 'chaiwala' meme posted by the Youth Congress and his humble origins, PM said, "Yes, I sold tea but not the nation".
"The Congress dislikes me because of my poor origins. Can a party stoop so low? Yes, a person belonging to a poor family has become Prime Minister. They do not fail to hide their contempt for this fact. Yes, I sold tea but I did not commit the sin of selling the nation," PM Modi said.
Attacking the Congress, the Prime Minister said: "You (opposition) dare to come to Gujarat and say things against the son of Gujarat? Will any Gujarati forgive people who make charges against the son of Gujarat? No Gujarati will endure this insult. This is my mother and I am its son."
Modi hit back at the Congress over the 'hugplomacy' jibe by Rahul Gandhi, saying, "When the Indian Army was standing eye-to-eye with Chinese at Doklam for 70 days, you were hugging the Ambassador of China. When the Indian soldier stood for the country, you were hugging the Chinese Ambassador. For whom? I am asking you a question," he said.
He accused the Congress vice president of applauding the release of a terrorist in Pakistan and asked why he hugged the Chinese ambassador during the Dokalam standoff.
"You are happy to hug the Chinese ambassador, you are clapping at the release of Hafiz Saeed, you cannot respect Indian Army's surgical strike... But why did you speak about it? You could have just remained silent," he said in Bhuj, not specifying how and where Gandhi had hailed Saeed's release.
Gandhi had recently tweeted: "Narendrabhai, baat nahi bani. Terror mastermind is free. President Trump just delinked Pak military funding from LeT. Hugplomacy fail. More hugs urgently needed."
The tweet had come after the release of LeT founder and 26/11 mastermind Saeed by a Pakistan court.
The BJP leader also took pot shots at Arvind Kejriwal saying, “Some years back, a new party (AAP) came to power in Delhi. At that time, people thought that good days will come. Now, that person has a habit of running away after throwing a stone on someone, hiding away after abusing someone and going away after spitting on someone."