Jaipur, Dec 4: Canvassing for December 7 Assembly polls in Rajasthan turned into a high voltage affair on the penultimate day on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian National Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in intense verbal duels.
Since the onset of the campaign for the assembly polls in five states-Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram-Mr Modi and Mr Gandhi have been targeting each other on various issues.
The current spate between the two main rivals followed renewed volleys of barbs against each other during the election meetings in this state.
While the PM continued raining criticism for the grand old party's "five decade misrule" headed by "four generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family", the Congress leader questioned Mr Modi's understanding on the very essence of Hinduism and protecting crony corporate 'friends'.
In Hanumangarh, Mr Modi invoked the Kartarpur corridor issue, affirming that it was his destiny to rectify the wrongs of the Congress leadership.
In 1947, the Congress leaders had not realised the significance of Kartarpur gurudwara, the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism-Guru Nanakji- which was just three km from the border and allowed the shrine to go to Pakistan, Mr Modi affirmed.
Offended by bilateral barbs, both leaders again locked horns on Tuesday during rallies in the state.
Addressing a public meeting in Malakheda town of Alwar district, Mr Gandhi mounted a scathing attack on the premier.
An aggressive-looking Gandhi said, " Modi had not kept his promise during the Lok Sabha general elections stumping that he would provide employment to two crore people every year.
"Modi deceived needy youths, not only from Rajasthan but of the entire nation. Every youth is pained and four youngsters recently committed suicide in this district,' Mr Gandhi said.
In every speech during campaigning in 2014, Mr Modi made a commitment for employment. However, after becoming PM (chowkidar) of the nation, he got busy in safeguarding (chowkidari) interests of some others (10-15 of his corporate friends), Mr Gandhi taunted.
In every speech, the premier raises slogan of "Bharat Mata ki Jai", but works to serve the interests of those 10-15 rich industrialists who helped in making him the Prime Minister, the Congress leader mocked.
"Bharat Mata symbolises collective entity of every citizen and every part of the country", Mr Gandhi said.
Pointing at(wrong) priorities, the Nehru-Gandhi family scion sarcastically said, "Instead of pronouncing Bharat Mata ki Jai, he should say Anil Ambani ki Jai, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi ki Jai, Vijay Mallya ki Jai".
Mr Gandhi also reiterated his allegations over PM's role in altering Rafael deal agreement to help Ambani, his government's alleged role in fleeing of loan offenders and hardships to people due to demonetisation.
In apparent reference to a "hostile campaign" by the ruling dispensation, Mr Gandhi asserted "We are not scared of you, Congress people will not retreat back even by an inch on their stance, the government has to waive off farm loans.'
Mr Gandhi reaffirmed his party's commitment to waive farmers loans within 10 days of formation of their government and job avenues to youths by spreading network of industries as per the local need and availability of raw materials.
Later, he addressed meetings in Buhana-Jhunjhunu and Udaipur.
Premier hits back
Prime Minister Modi, who also was on the campaign trail in the state, did not waste time to react and condemn Mr Gandhi's barb about his 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' phrase.
Addressing a meeting in Sikar shortly after Mr Gandhi's Alwar rally, the premier took strong exception to the remarks.
The PM said "pronouncing Bharat Mata ki Jai charge an individual (Indian) with cheer and positive energy, the Naamdar is raising objection against its chanting by me.
"How can he dare to prohibit me (or anyone) from pronouncing Bharat Mata ki Jai..,..shame on him...(he) should go and drown himself)", Modi said striking emotional chord with the audience.
"We do live for Bharat Mata and may die for Bharat Mata", he exhorted quoting the legendary Bharatiya Janata Party statesman Atal Behari Vajpayee who had said 'even after the death the remains of his and other party leaders will echo Bharat Mata ki Jai.'
He also attacked the opposition party for the previous Gehlot government's record of having rape tainted Ministers and lawmakers part of their dispensation in last regime in the state.
Even family members of such rape tainted leaders were given ticket by the party in the ensuing elections, he remarked.
He also hit out at the Opposition for promoting a leader that described the army chief as a roadster goon.
Seeking votes for BJP, the premier said Congress can not be entrusted to govern the state.
Mr Modi also addressed two meetings in Hanumangarh and Jaipur.
The proclamation of the mandate in the single-phase poll in the former princely state will take place on December 11 along with Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram. (UNI)