Rahul calls PM Modi ‘panauti’ for India’s cricket loss, BJP calls it ‘shameful’

With the Assembly election campaigns reaching a fever pitch, Congress Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been trading barbs in their speeches.
MP Rahul Gandhi
MP Rahul Gandhi
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi drew criticism on Tuesday, November 21, when he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘panauti’(bad omen) associating him with India’s loss in the cricket World Cup finals against Australia held on November 19. He was addressing a rally in Rajasthan for the upcoming Assembly elections when he made the dig. ‘Panauti’, a Hindi term for harbinger of bad luck, is an unscientific and superstitious term, used to denote persons or objects bringing negative consequences. 

“Ache bhale hamare ladke waha pe World Cup jeet jaate, par panauti harwa diya. TV wale yeh nahi kahenge, magar janata jaanti hai (our boys were almost winning the World Cup, but the ‘bad omen’ made them lose. TV people will not tell you this, but the people know),” he said at an election rally in Jalotra in Rajasthan. The state goes to polls on November 25.

His comments came under swift criticism from several leaders in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “If Rahul Gandhi has used a word like 'panauti', then it reflects what kind of person he is. Using such words for the PM, who is working continuously for the country, is not acceptable and the entire country is watching this," says Union Minister of State Meenakshi Lekhi. 

Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about the PM were “shameful, condemnable and disgraceful.”

The two leaders have been trading barbs in their campaign speeches occurring in five states. Earlier this month, in the run-up to the Madhya Pradesh polls, Narendra Modi during a rally in Betul district in MP called Rahul Gandhi ‘moorkhon ke sardar’ (the leader of stupid people). The Prime Minister made the remarks while referring to a statement of the Congress leader.

“A wise man from Congress was saying that the people of the country only have 'Made in China' mobiles. Arrey, ‘moorkhon ke sardar’, which world do you live in? Congress leaders are afflicted with the mental disease of ignoring India's achievements. I wonder what foreign glasses they have worn that they are not able to see,” he said.

He was reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s claim that “mobile phones in India are mostly made in China.” Modi said that India has become the second biggest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world.

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