|Narendra Modi at the BJP rally (Pic: Imtiyaz Shaikh)|
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Modi lambasts India's ruling party in election rally
MUMBAI (AA) - Addressing his first election campaign rally in Mumbai the main opposition party's candidate for prime minister Narendra Modi bitterly criticized the ruling Congress Party holding it responsible for all problems India faced.
"The root cause of the problems of India are not its people or its geography or its history or its natural resources. It is Congress-led governments," the 63-year old Gujarat chief minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) told a massive gathering of party workers and supporters.
India will hold a general election in May 2014.
Modi said Maharashtra and Gujarat states were formed on the same day on May 1, 1960, but they took on completely different paths.
He said in the past 53 years, his Gujarat state had 14 chief ministers while Maharashtra had 26 chief ministers blaming state Congress leaders of pulling each others' legs to occupy the post of the chief minister.
"This reflects the character of the Congress government. If we don't understand it, the country’s problems will not be solved," he said.
Modi drew a historical parallel to connect with the party workers and ordinary people who had travelled to Mumbai to hear the right-wing Hindu nationalist leader.
Modi said that 'Quit India Movement' -- the movement that got India its freedom from British in 1947 -- started in Mumbai. He said, a similar movement needs to be spearheaded from the soil of Mumbai against the Congress party.
"Today, from the same Mumbai, we need to hear cries of 'Congress-free India',” Modi thundered amid a rousing applause.
Modi accused Congress party of indulging in vote-bank politics, communalism and Muslim appeasement. He blamed the ruling party for creating deep divisions and problems over language, caste, creed and natural resources.
"Congress is deeply involved in vote-bank politics. Divide and rule has been the special feature of the Congress politics," he said.
Modi said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government identified 90 districts where India’s minorities are in sizable numbers but failed to spend money through the proposed welfare schemes.
"Congress government has acknowledged in India’s parliament that not a single penny has been spent in these districts in the past three years," he said.
"BJP has shown through its politics and policies that it is committed to development. Without development, India’s poor and exploited won't be able to live," he said.
The right-wing Hindu nationalist leader attacked young Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice-president and scion of Gandhi family without naming him. Modi said he was surprised listening to Gandhi’s speech against corruption on Saturday.
"They are all neck-deep in corruption and they make innocent faces and give speeches," Modi taunted the young Congress leader.
Modi came down heavily on Congress-led state government in Maharashtra and said that all irrigation projects are in doldrums and farmers are compelled to commit suicide because they can't repay loans.
"What is the reason that in Maharashtra, farmers are forced to commit suicide," he asked.
Modi said that the ordinary citizens of India know that India's ‘black money’ is kept in Swiss banks.
Modi said India needs good governance and youth should be given jobs to lead respectful lives.
"Bad governance is like diabetes. Like diabetes, bad governance is the reason for every other problem," he said.
Sunday’s rally was BJP’s first election campaign rally in the western state of Maharashtra after the right-wing party swept polls in four state elections in early December.
BJP booked 21 long-distance trains to facilitate smooth travel of party workers to attend the rally from Maharashtra and neighbouring states.
BJP claimed an estimated 800,000 people attended the rally including 10,000 tea stall vendors who were specially invited as Modi used to serve tea at a tea stall in his childhood.
Earlier, State BJP leader Gopinath Munde termed party’s victory in four state elections as "tsunami".
"This is not a wave, but a tsunami," Munde said.Before the rally, a wax statue of Modi was inaugurated by BJP President Rajnath Singh.