Patan (Gujarat), Dec 11 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday came down heavily on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his relentless taunts of crony capitalism against his government, asserting that those who had not seen poverty speak in this language.
"You say something, may be it is a mistake; you say it again, it may still be excusable, and third time, may be it is a political remark. But you do this again and again for two months. You think everyone is a fool, spreading lies everywhere," Modi went on, almost like an outburst.
This was the first public meeting of Modi on Monday. It began two hours behind schedule.
Gandhi has been alleging throughout his pitched Gujarat campaign that the Modi model of development was all about taking away land and resources of the poor and farmers and handing them over to a handful of corporates including the Tatas and Adanis for a song.
Reacting for the first time to the Congress leader's tirade 24 hours ahead of the end of campaign for the second phase of polling, the Prime Minister said: "I went with a begging bowl to every nook and corner of Gujarat asking people to send their girls to school.
"Was I asking about the education of daughters of the Ambanis? Was I asking about daughters of Kilachand? I went from village to village in 45-degree heat to promote education of the girl child," Modi thundered.
"What do those born with a silver spoon in their mouth know about this.
"I, as the Chief Minister, and my ministers used to take ‘krishi rath' (agriculture chariot) during sowing and harvesting season to promote modern farming," he said.
"Our footwear got worn out, we have walked barefoot under the sun. They (Gandhi) may not have been pricked even once by a thorn in the foot."
Modi intermittently asked the crowd in Patan in North Gujarat if they remembered that he did all this.
"Tell me, did I or did I not? Not like this, say it loudly, raise both your hands in agreement," he exhorted the crowd.
"You keep on repeating lies and think everyone is a fool to believe what all you say. I took out the ‘krishi rath' to every village, was it for the Adanis?" Modi asked.