SOLAPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the BJP’s campaign for Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra on Wednesday by addressing a public rally in Solapur, where he launched a scathing attack on the Congress over the Rafale row.

Citing media reports, the PM hinted that alleged middleman Christian Michel, arrested in the AgustaWestland case, was lobbying for French manufacturer Dassault’s rivals in the multi-crore Rafale deal. “We have caught a middleman who was involved in a helicopter deal. Media is calling him Michel mama, who also had a role in Rafale deal. Now people will understand why the Congress is raising a hue and cry over Rafale deal?”

Calling himself a “Chowkidar (Watchman)”, Modi said, “Chowkidar Jagta Rahta Hai – he is always awake. Chowkidar can walk in deep dark and will do his duty.”

He further said that the decision to grant 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker in general category was based on consensus. On the passage of the Citizenship Bill, he assured people of Assam and North East that their rights will not be curtailed.