New Delhi, Apr 27 UNI | 3 months ago

The war of nerves between the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP intensified today with just two days left for the seventh round of the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections.

Spearheading the Congress offensive was Ms Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who made BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi a butt of attack and also described his party leaders as ''scared rats scurrying for cover''.

BJP made special efforts to target the Nehru Gandhi family, releasing a video on Priyanka's husband Robert Vadra's land deals and asking Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to come clean to the nation on these deals.

Priyanka took pot shots at Mr Modi, telling that ''this country does not need a 56-inch chest, but a large heart to be run.''

She said to run a country like India, moral strength and not cruel force of power was needed. Mr Modi had recently said at an election rally in Gorakhpur that it would take a ''56-inch chest'' to convert UP into Gujarat.

Addressing election meetings in Rae Bareli, from where Congress President and her mother Sonia Gandhi is contesting, Priyanka said this country comprised of people of diverse faiths and could be run with only a very liberal vision.

BJP, stung by the criticism of Mr Modi, took no time to come out with a video in New Delhi, recounting all the alleged deals of Mr Vadra. Priyanka, reacting to the video titled 'Damad Shree: Robert Vadra get-rich-quick Model', described the opposition leaders as ''scared rats scurrying for cover,'', and asserted that she would not be cowed down by their attacks.

''I knew that just a day or two before election, they would be resorting to all kind of lies. There is nothing new in it. ''I will continue speaking against their destructive, negative and shameful politics. I will not keep silent,'' she said talking to reporters in Rae Bareli constituency.

''Baukhlai hue chuhon ki tarah daur rahe hain (They are scurrying away like scared rats),'' she added.

''Let them do whatever they want. Let them do more. I am waiting for it,'' Priyanka said.

However, Mr Modi responding to her comments said that it was but natural that she should defend her family.

But he attacked Congress, saying that faced with a debacle in the elections, the ruling party was now trying to hide in the bunker of secularism.

Mr Modi, speaking in Jhansi, attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, saying speeches of the Congress leader should be shown in the comedy nights on TV, as it has no substances and only made for entertainment.

''Rahul Gandhi was in Gujarat yesterday and these days, mother-son have developed a lot of love for Gujarat. They praise Gujarat day and night.

''Mother speaks somewhere, son speaks somewhere else. Mother speaks one lie and son speaks two lies,'' Mr Modi said.

While Priyanka was aggressive in the north, her mother Sonia was taking on her opponents in the South today.

Addressing election meeting in Telangana, she attacked TRS, saying that it played opportunistic politics over the formation of the state. Ms Gandhi said TRS leader K Chandreshekar Rao earlier would claim that Congress was not in favour of creating a separate state of Telangana, and now that the state had been formed under a Congress-led government at the Centre, he was claiming the credit for it.

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The seventh round to be held on April 30 will cover nine states and two Union Territories.

This round would see poll for all 26 seats in Gujarat and all 13 seats in Punjab.

Congress is battling to retain the eight seats it had won in the last elections of Puinjab. The Akali Dal is seeking to retain four seats and BJP one.

In Uttar Pradesh, seventh round would see polls for 14 seats, out of which six are with the Congress, four with the SP, three with the BSP and one with the BJP.

Besides, Ms Sonia, other party stalwarts in Uttar Pradesh whose fate would be decided on April 30, include Jitin Prasada (Dhaurahra), Annu Tandon (Unnao), Sri Prakash Jaiswal (Kanpur), Pradeep Kumar Jain (Jhansi), and the bureaucrat-turned-politician PL Punia (Barananki).

The most important seat for BJP in the state of this round is that of Lucknow, from where its President Rajnath Singh is contesting.

Also on April 30, nine seats in West Bengal would go to polls. Of these, five are with the Trinamool Congress and four with the CPI(M).

Besides, there are seven seats in Bihar, two of them with BJP and five with the Janata Dal-United.

The seventh round includes one seat each in Jammu and Kashmir and Union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, both held by BJP at present.

In JandK, the prestigious seat is Srinagar, from where Dr Farooq Abdullah is seeking re-election. The coming round also involves Lok Sabha and Assembly seats of Telangana regon.

The intensified war of words between the ruling Congress and the BJP has charged up the atmosphere before the seventh round.

Congress added a new element to the poll debate when its senior Minister Salman Khurshid said his party was ready to support a Third front government or take its help in forming the government itself.

BJP hit back when its senior leader Arun Jaitley said that by talking of a third front government, Congress had already accepted its defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

(Posted on 28-04-2014)