Taking a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, PM Narendra Modi on Friday said the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is contesting from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency as he is going to lose the electoral battle from Wayanad.

Elections were held in Wayanad LS seat in Kerala on April 26 in the second phase. Gandhi filed his nomination from Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli constituency on the last day of filing papers, opting out of Amethi.

Addressing a public rally at Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency in West Bengal, Modi said, “I had already said in Parliament that their (Congress) biggest leader (Sonia Gandhi) will not dare to fight elections and she will run away. She ran away to Rajasthan and came to the Rajya Sabha.”

Notably, Sonia Gandhi, the former Congress president, was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan in February. In an emotional letter to the people of her constituency, Rae Bareli, she had informed them that health concerns and age would not allow her to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Taking a dig at Gandhi on his decision to fight the elections from Rae Bareli, a family bastion, Modi said,”... I had already said that the Shehzada (prince in hindi) was going to lose in Wayanad. I had said that as soon as the polling was completed in Wayanad, he would start looking for another seat... He is so scared of Amethi that he is running towards Rae Bareli. They ask everyone ‘Daro Mat’. Today, I also ask them, ‘Daro Mat, Bhago Mat’...”

In the last Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani in Amethi. He remained an MP by winning the second seat, Wayanad.

The Prime Minister, who also addressed meetings at Krishnanagar and Bolpur constituencies in Bengal, said it would be difficult for the Congress to win even 50 seats in this LS elections. 

“The Trinamool Congress will not be able to win even 15 seats in the country...And, for Congress, it would be difficult to score even a half-century this time even if the party employs all its strength,” the BJP leader said.

SSC recruitment scam

In a bid to woo young voters in West Bengal, the PM said he has asked the State BJP unit to create a separate legal cell to provide help to “genuine teachers and candidates” who lost jobs due to the School Service Commission (SSC) scam.

“The corruption that the Trinamool has done in school recruitment is shameful. Due to this scam, several genuine candidates have suffered. We want those involved in corruption by the TMC to be punished. But we don’t want the innocent to suffer. We are behind genuine teachers and candidates,” he added.

In connection with the SSC recruitment scam, the Calcutta High Court cancelled the 2016 recruitment panel set up by the West Bengal School Service Commission, and dismissed 25,753 teachers and non-teaching staff. 

All the three constituencies, Krishnanagar, Bardhaman-Durgapur, and Bolpur, are going to polls on May 13 in the fourth phase.

Commenting on Modi’s remarks on the Congress, senior party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “Rahul Gandhi will win both the seats (Wayanad and Rae Bareli). There is no iota of doubt. Modi is now not telling the story of NDA crossing the 400 mark. The entire country is taking a new decision to do away with him.”