Rajkot: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has requested the Congress "not to mock my poor origins," extending his scathing attack on the opposition party and its leader Rahul Gandhi from one rally in Gujarat to another, as he begins a campaign blitz his home state, which votes early next month for a new government.
"The Congress dislikes me because of my poor origins. Can a party stoop so low? Yes, a person belonging to a poor family has become PM. They do not fail to hide their contempt for this fact. Yes, I sold tea but I did not sell the nation," PM Modi said in Rajkot, adding, "I request the Congress not to mock the poor and my poor origins."
The PM's comments referred to the latest controversy the Congress landed itself in last week, when the party's youth wing mocked the Prime Minister as a "chai-wala" in a meme it later deleted, but not quickly enough.
The BJP has since resurrected its "chai" campaign strategy that it had successfully deployed ahead of the 2014 general election, highlighting the Prime Minister's childhood when he sold tea at railway stations to stress that he is a self-made leader in contrast to the Gandhis' dynastic control of the Congress.
The chai campaign was constructed as a result of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar infamously deriding Mr Modi as a tea-seller who could never become Prime Minister.