Published on April 23, 2019

AHMEDABAD: It is a curious case of two implacable opponents using the same battle cry. The word ‘Modi’ seems to have been the common connect between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Both uttered the word at least 50 times each in nine separate rallies they addressed in Gujarat in April.

TOI analyzed five rallies of Modi and four of Gandhi. ‘Modi’ was the term used most often by both while berating each other. Gandhi peppered his speeches with the word ‘Modi’, on an average, 13 times in each of the four rallies held across Gujarat from April 1 to 21. He mainly referred to Modi while reminding voters of the lofty promises allegedly broken by the PM.

Modi enunciated his own name, on an average, 10 times in each of his five rallies as he made an all-out attempt to strengthen his connect with the people of his home state. He has helmed Gujarat for record 13 years. 

PM Modi did not mention his key opponent by name even once. He only once derided Congress members as ‘Raag-darbaari’, making an oblique reference to Gandhi’s nickname RaGa. But Modi referenced ‘the Congress’, on an average 13 times, during his attacks in each of his rallies. 

On other themes, the two leaders were poles apart during the campaigning in Gujarat.

Modi stressed on national security and assertive action by his party as he repeated key words like ‘terrorism’ (average 5 times per rally), ‘surgical strikes’ (3), ‘Jammu & Kashmir’ (5), ‘Pakistan’ (5) and ‘Armed Forces’ (6). Modi, who is also known as ‘Chhote Sardar’ referred to the Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel seven times per rally on an average. 

Rahul cited Nyay six times per rally

Rahul Gandhi, who launched a massive outreach to woo the poor through his Nyunatam Aay Yojna (Nyay), cited the scheme six times per rally on an average. Under Nyay, the Congress has promised to deposit Rs 72,000 per annum in the accounts of five crore poor families in India.

This was fewer than the number of times Gandhi invoked the name of industrialist Anil Ambani — nine times per rally on an average — with reference to the Rafale deal. He mentioned farmers eight times against four times by the PM.

As for ‘chowkidaar’, both leaders were neck to neck as they said the word four times per rally on an average.

Modi addressed five rallies — in Amreli, Anand, Surendranagar, Patan and Songadh. Gandhi addressed rallies in Tapi, Bhuj, Junagadh and Bhavnagar.

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