Rahul's 'fight against Shakti' remark sparks row; PM Modi hits back

Congress leader clarified that he was not talking about any religious power

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks at a rally in Mumbai on Sunday | Amey Mansabdar Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks at a rally in Mumbai on Sunday | Amey Mansabdar

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's "fight against Shakti" remark sparked a controversy on Monday and drew a strong retort from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said every mother and daughter was a form of "Shakti" for him and that he will sacrifice his life for their security.

Addressing poll rallies in Telangana and Karnataka, the prime minister also said the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be a fight between destroyers and worshippers of 'Shakti'.

As Modi seized upon Gandhi's remark made at the opposition INDIA bloc rally in Mumbai on Sunday, the Congress leader clarified that he was not talking about any religious power but the 'Shakti' of unrighteousness, corruption and falsehood.

In a post in Hindi on X, Gandhi accused the prime minister of twisting his words and said he was speaking about the power of which Modi was wearing the mask.

"Modi ji does not like my words, he always tries to change their meaning by twisting them in some way or the other because he knows that I have spoken a solemn truth."

In his first rally in Jagtial in Nizamabad in Telangana after the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls schedule, Modi said the nation dedicated the success of Chandrayaan-3 last year to 'Shiv Shakti' but the opposition parties are talking about destroying "Shakti".

"On Sunday in Mumbai, there was an INDI alliance rally after the announcement of the schedule for elections. They announced their manifesto at Mumbai's Shivaji Park, and said their fight was against 'Shakti'. For me, every mother and every daughter is a form of 'Shakti'. Mothers and sisters, I worship you as 'Shakti'. I am Bharat Maa's 'pujari', he asserted.

"INDI alliance in its manifesto announced to finish, destroy Shakti. I accept their challenge. I will sacrifice my life for the security of mothers and sisters."

Gandhi in his speech at Shivaji park in Mumbai after the conclusion of his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' had said: "Our fight against Modi is not on a personal level. Modi is a 'mask' who works for a 'Shakti' (power). He is a shallow man who doesn't have a 56-inch chest."

In Hindu religion, there is a word Shakti'. We are fighting against a Shakti. Now the question arises: What is that Shakti? As someone here said, the King's soul is in EVM. It is correct. The King's soul is in EVM. It is in every institution of Hindustan, in ED, in CBI, in the Income Tax department.

At the rally in Shivamogga in Karnataka, Modi said, "If they(INDI alliance) want to destroy Shakti', then worshipping Shakti' is our resolve.

The prime minister said that when he heard about the fight against Shakti from Shivaji Park, he wondered how it would have hurt Shiv Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray's soul.

The prime minister noted that the remark was made at Shivaji Park where every child grows up with the mantra of Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji'.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (17th Century AD Maratha ruler) took the blessings of Goddess Tulja Bhavani and marched for the freedom of India. He was a Shakti worshipper. And at the same Shivaji Park, it was announced to eliminate Shakti, Modi said.

Modi also took a swipe at former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Bal Thackeray's son Uddhav Thackeray, Sena (UBT) head, who was present when Gandhi made the speech. And who were there on the dais? What would be happening to Bal Thackeray's soul? he asked.

Noting that he was a worshipper of Shakti', the feminine form of God just as crores of Hindus, he said it was Shakti' which gave him the energy when he entered the public life.

Underlining that every woman of the country is a reflection of Shakti', Modi said his government always gave preference to 'Nari Shakti' or women power'.

Modi again referred to the success of Chandrayaan-3 mission last year and said, When Chandrayaan-3 reached where no one had ever reached before (lunar south pole), we gave that place the name Shiv-Shakti Point'.

Modi further said an attack on Shakti' means attack on women oriented programmes and Mother India.

Emergence of Shakti destroys terrorism and atrocities. Now the INDI alliance and Congress have challenged this Shakti. Every woman, daughter and sister will give a befitting reply to the Congress. They will understand what it means to challenge Shakti."

Gandhi in his post on X said, "The 'Shakti' (power) that I mentioned, Modi ji is the mask of that power and we are fighting against it. It is such a power that today it has captured India's voice, India's institutions, the CBI, I-T, ED, Election Commission, the media, Indian industry and the entire constitutional structure of India in its clutches.

"I recognise that power and so does Narendra Modi ji. It is not any kind of religious power, it is the power of unrighteousness, corruption and falsehood. That's why whenever I raise my voice against it, Modi ji and his machine of lies gets upset and enraged."

In a post in Hindi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that the prime minister is just a "master" of diverting public attention by twisting the statements of opposition leaders.

While several BJP leaders targeted Rahul Gandhi over his remark, the Congress party also hit back at Modi over his attack on the former party chief.

In a post on X, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla lashed out at Rahul Gandhi, saying it is very clear from his comments that his party is fighting against Hinduism. He has showed his "hatred" for women power and all forms of its manifestation, Poonawalla said.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav said Rahul Gandhi neither understands Hindu religion nor democracy.

Congress leader Pawan Khera claimed that the prime minister is upset and the entire BJP is talking baseless things after Rahul Gandhi attacked 'Asuri Shakti'. "This election is between 'Asuri Shakti' and 'Daivik Shakti'," the Congress national spokesperson said. 

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