Modi, Paswan share stage; Jayalalithaa slams Congress (Campaign Roundup)

New Delhi, March 3: Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan Monday shared the stage with Narendra Modi and pitched for making him the next prime minister, as AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa launched her party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls and asked people to throw out the “corrupt” Congress-led government.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal addressed meetings in Agra as part of his party’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh.

Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, launched a scathing attack on the Congress and the Janata Dal-United at the election rally in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur.

Modi accused the Nitish Kumar government of being soft on fighting terror.

“Due to its vote bank politics, the Bihar government is not prepared to act tough against militants,” he said, adding that militants were finding it easy to get hiding places in Bihar.

The BJP leader said the dream of coming to power should not come in the way of fighting terror.

Modi said more political parties would join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance following Paswan’s return.

He accused Congress of raising the bogey of secularism in the run-up to the elections, in its bid to escape accountability on issues such as price rise, unemployment and problems of the poor.

“For them, secularism is appeasement and justice for none, for us it is appeasement of none and justice for all. For them, it is religion first, for us it is India first. For them, secularism is a political weapon, for us it is an article of faith,” he said.

Paswan, who had left the NDA after the 2002 Gujarat riots and has now forged a tie-up with the BJP for the elections, said there have been no riots in Gujarat since 2002 but incidents of communal violence have occurred in Bihar.

“I see this huge turnout as a commitment to ensure that Narendra Modi and the BJP win the Lok Sabha election,” Paswan said.

However, some BJP leaders kept away from Modi’s rally apparently due to unhappiness over the party’s decision to ally with Paswan.

They included party vice president C.P. Thakur, former minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey, Giriraj Singh and parliamentarian Kirti Azad.

In Agra, AAP leaders said Kejriwal sought support for his party for its maiden Lok Sabha polls. Kejriwal was on a three-day election tour of Uttar Pradesh.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who Monday launched her party’s election campaign from the textile-temple town of Kanchipuram, faulted the central government’s economic, defence procurement and other policies.

Urging people to vote out the central government, she said the mood of the people is now akin to what it was prior to 1947 when the country obtained independence.

At that time, people wanted to throw out the British. Similarly, people now want to throw out the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, she said.

“Last 10 years, the country was plundered by the Congress-led government,” she said.

Meanwhile, Congress sources said in New Delhi that the party’s central election committee would meet Tuesday to finalise the first list of party candidates for the elections, the schedule of which is expected to be announced this week.

IANS