Rahul maligning entire community by calling me thief: PM

Targeting Rahul Gandhi on his 'why are all thieves named Modis' remark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Congress chief, by making that jibe, had maligned the backward community he hails from.

Addressing a poll rally in Akluj, Modi also slammed the 'dynastic politics' of Sharad Pawar and claimed the NCP chief had 'fled' the poll arena from Madha Lok Sabha constituency as he sensed defeat.

"The Congress and its allies say that all Modis in the society are thieves. The Congress and its allies have not kept any shortcomings in abusing of my backward caste. This time they have crossed the limits and abused the entire backward society," Modi said.

Addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra recently, Rahul had said: "I have a question. Why all the thieves have Modi in their names whether be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi? We don't know how many more such Modis will come out."

Slamming Rahul, Modi said: "The 'naamdar' (dynast) first tried 'chowkidar chor hai' (slogan). Now they are trying to defame a backward community (Modi community). Being from a backward community, I am used to the suffering."

"The Congress has been defaming me for several years over my backward community background," Modi said.

"I am used to such bashing. Now, they are blaming the entire community while defaming me. If you dare to defame a community, I will not tolerate it," he said. "Why label entire backward community thieves by calling me one," he added.

Attacking Pawar, Modi said the NCP chief wondered if he has a family or not.

"Pawar has the right to speak against me or my family because he is elder to me.

"Pawar is steeped in dynastic politics and his model is a "special family" in Delhi," Modi said, in a veiled reference to the Gandhis.

Modi also promised to set up a separate 'Jal Shakti' ministry if voted to power again. A separate department will be made only for river connectivity and increasing irrigation, he said.

(Agencies)