Barely 24 hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- in his first political rally in Uttarakhand -- took on the Congress and said 'Dev Bhoomi didn't deserve a corrupt government', Chief Minister Harish Rawat has hit back.
Speaking exclusively to Huffington Post India, Rawat dismissed the Prime Minister's pitch in Uttarakhand as jumla ( a political gimmick). He also accused the BJP of using money to influence the elections and propping rebel candidates to stymie the electoral prospects of the Congress.
Commenting on Narendra Modi, Rawat asked, "Can Prime Minister Modi mention even one deed or act that he has done for Uttarakhand? In the last two-and-half years the Prime Minister hasn't even visited Uttarakhand once," Rawat said.
"Can Prime Minister Modi mention even one deed or act that he has done for Uttarakhand? In the last two-and-half years the Prime Minister hasn't even visited Uttarakhand once"
Rawat then proceeded to challenge Prime Minister Modi to institute an inquiry into his government's alleged misdeeds. The PM, when addressing a rally in Haridwar yesterday had said the misdeeds and corruption of the Uttarakhand government would be probed. Referring to the same, Rawat asked "What is holding PM Modi back, he should order an inquiry immediately."
Launching a counter attack, he said that, "The PM wasn't able to bring back money stashed abroad, neither did he made the list of foreign bank account holders public. These are political gimmicks."
He went to allege that BJP was spending as much as Rs1000 crore in the Uttarakhand elections. "Where is all this money coming from and why do you need so much money to contest elections in a small state like Uttarakhand?" he asked and added that corporate houses had opened up their purse for the BJP.
Making a grave and controversial allegation, the Chief Minister said, "Money is being ferried in Uttarakhand in helicopters that are meant to transport central ministers. The Election Commission frequently does thorough checks on me, but the central ministers have a free run."
"Money is being ferried in Uttarakhand in helicopters that are meant to transport central ministers."
Asked why he chose not to cash-in on the public sympathy and support and go for early elections just after his government was restored, Harish Rawat said, he was "proud" that he had not put the electoral considerations ahead of Uttarakhand's development. "Had we gone for elections immediately after my government was restored, developmental work would have stopped for a year. It was a conscious choice. There was enormous support from the people when my government was dismissed, I decided to repay that," he said.
Harish Rawat accepted that rebels were hurting the electoral prospects. "Rebels are hurting both ways, but they are hurting BJP more. And the reason for that is Congress rebels have been propped up by BJP. They have been fielded to split votes," he said.