Sunday, January 20, 2008


TN Raghunatha | Mumbai
January 21, 2008

Pillorying the UPA Government for practicing "vote bank" politics aimed at appeasing the Muslims, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the Congress had become a "liability" in the country and it was high time that the people showed the door to the Sonia Gandhi-led party. []

In remarks dripped in sarcasm, he targeted Sonia Gandhi saying the Congress president fell ill after the party lost the Gujarat Assembly election and had to be admitted to hospital.

"After the results were declared Soniaben fell ill and had to be admitted to hospital. The whole of Gujarat had prayed for her recovery. A lot happened," Modi said.

The remarks which is expected to trigger another round of confrontation between the Chief Minister and the Congress leadership immediately provoked an angry reaction from Congress spokesman Abhishek Singvi who said Modi was as "egoistic as ever and drunk with power" instead of being gracious in victory.

In the first major felicitation function organised outside Gujarat after he returned to power in his State, Modi rubbished the now-well accepted political dictums that "good governance is bad politics" and that "development does not bring votes", and lambasted the "vested interests" for finding fault with the electoral verdict handed out by the people of Gujarat in favour of the BJP.

Addressing a mammoth rally organised by the BJP at the Shivaji Park in north-central Mumbai, Modi said an important lesson that all the political parties should learn from the Gujarat Assembly poll verdict was that they, when in power, should accord top priority to the development issues, rather than indulging in "vote-bank" politics as was the case with the Congress.

Modi, who arrived at the felicitation venue in a lion-headed chariot onto a stage having Parliament as the backdrop in the middle with maps of Maharashtra and Gujarat on either side, was accorded rousing reception by a large and an enthusiastic crowd -- a gathering that senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde described as the one bigger than the crowds drawn by AICC president Sonia Gandhi early last year and UP Chief Minister Mayawati very recently at the same venue.

The Gujarat Chief Minister virtually kick-started the BJP's preparations for the 2009 Assembly polls in Maharashtra, as he blew the "shanka" (shell) presented to him by the State BJP leaders on the occasion.

Modi strongly advocated the need for the country adopting the "BJP model of governance" as against the three other models of "tested and failed" governance -- the one practised by the Congress for "40 to 45" years, the other practised by the CPI(M) during the last two decades and the third by the various regional parties -- seen by the country since Independence.

"The BJP's model governance is best suited for the country at this juncture," Modi said, as he spoke at length on how he had changed the rules of politics in the country by according a "top priority" to the development issues.

Singling out the Congress for "going out of the way" to appease Muslims, Modi said: "I strongly believe that the State exchequer belongs to the people. As far as Gujarat is concerned, I consider myself a chowkidar appointed by the people to guard the State treasury. I would not allow anybody to touch even one rupee from the State treasury for needs other than development. Here, we have a Prime Minister who says that his Government would accord top priority to the needs of Muslims when it comes to utilising financial resources available with it".

Modi charged that the UPA Government was indulging in "vote bank" politics at the cost of development. "Given that the Congress was out of power at the Centre for 15 years, I thought that the Congress would reform itself on its return to power. But, unfortunately, the Congress continues to practise the same vote-bank politics. If anything, the Congress has become a liability to the country. The country can prosper only when the people get rid of the Congress from power".

Castigating the Manmohan Singh dispensation for its failure on various fronts, Modi said: "If one asks 10 persons in a street corner to list five good things done by the Manmohan Singh Government during the last four years, I sincerely doubt that if even one person is able to list five good things done by it".

Modi charged that the UPA Government had miserably failed to arrest the unchecked price rise and said that it had done precious little to help the poor and downtrodden. "During the Vajpayee Government's tenure at the Centre, our food godowns were not only full to the capacity but we had also a major problem of storing the excess food grains we had at our disposal. Once the UPA Government came to power, the godowns suddenly became empty and a stage came when we had to import wheat from abroad. And the Government ended up distributing inferior quality of wheat to the people through PDS outlets," the Chief Minister said.

Modi demanded an explanation from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and AICC president Sonia Gandhi as to why the Government imported wheat at such exorbitant costs, even while it denied remunerative prices for the wheat growers in the country.

Modi did also not also mince words when he said that the UPA Government did not have either a policy or a strategy to combat terror in the country. He said the UPA Government had committed a "sin" by withdrawing Army from the border areas in Kashmir. He was also vehement in his criticism of the Centre for its failure to re-enact the repealed POTA, which would have come in handy in dealing with terrorist activities in the country.

Earlier, Munde and BJP State BJP president Nitin Gadkari heaped praise on Modi for ensuring the BJP's resounding victory in the Gujarat Assembly polls and said that the party would utilise the services of the latter in its campaign for the Assembly polls in Maharashtra.

One strong Hindu can change the thought-current of the whole world...
Hindus should have fearlessness,the first prerequisite of a spiritual life.

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