As the country woke up to the biggest election since 2014 this morning, and political parties started tweeting to voters asking them to come out in large numbers and choose their government, the Congress also put out a message on its official Twitter handle in big, bold font with its hand election symbol – but with a slight directed at the BJP.
“Today you decide. Love over hate. Jobs over pakoda. Policies over propaganda. One nation over division. Vote for Congress. Vote for you. Today you pledge,” the Congress tweeted, less than an hour after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked first-time voters to turn up at polling booths in large numbers.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also launched an early morning attack on the Modi government. “No 2 crore jobs. No 15 lakhs in bank account. No acche din. Instead: no jobs. Demonetisation. Farmers in pain. Gabbar Singh Tax. Suit boot sarkar. Rafale. Lies. Lies. Lies. Distrust. Violence. Hate. Fear. You vote today for the soul of India. For her future. Vote wisely,” Mr Gandhi tweeted.
The opposition has been targeting the Modi government over what it claims was a severe unemployment crisis across the country. A controversy had broken out in January after a report alleged that India’s unemployment rate was at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s periodic labour force survey. The report was not released despite being vetted by the National Statistical Commission in December, two non-independent members who quit the data collating body had alleged.
The Congress’s “pakoda” jibe at the BJP alludes to a remark by PM Modi in a television interview last January about whether a person earning Rs 200 a day selling pakodas can be considered unemployed. Rahul Gandhi’s party has maintained that self-employment is different from job creation.
Minutes after voting started this morning, PM Modi was among the first BJP leaders who tweeted to encourage people, especially young and first-time voters, to come out and vote in large numbers.
“2019 Lok Sabha elections commence today. I call upon all those whose constituencies are voting in the first phase today to turn out in record numbers and exercise their franchise. I specially urge young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers,” PM Modi tweeted.
At a rally in Maharashtra’s Latur on Tuesday, PM Modi had put out a direct appeal to “my first-time voters”, asking millennials to choose the BJP while referring to his key campaign themes.
In the first of the seven-phase national elections today, people in 18 states and two Union Territories are voting. Results will be out on May 23.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.