Invoking Godhra for the first time since the carnage in 2002, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Congress of holding on to the Godhra issue and bringing it up every time during the elections. He said this while addressing party workers at the inauguration of the BJP’s state-of-the-art new headquarters at Koba near Gandhinagar. BJP stalwart and former deputy prime minister L K Advani specially flew down from Delhi for the event.
Modi said that it was during James Lyngdoh’s tenure as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in 2002 that the Congress raked up Godhra as an issue for election campaigning. “I do remember, Mr Lyngdoh was the election commissioner. In 2002, the so-called secular groups got together and tried to delay the elections, claiming that I will contest on Godhra issue. I had then said that development was the issue. In 2007, for them Godhra was an issue again, while for me it was development. In 2012 also, they evoked ‘maut ke saudagar’ and I stuck to development. Even in this election, they are not addressing the real issue,” Modi said, referring to the comments made by the AICC president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the run-up to 2007 Gujarat Assembly elections. “They are not addressing real issues because they are not in a position to give answers to the people,” Modi said. While a Metropolitan court in the state gave Modi clean chit in the 2002 riots cases, AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi in a recent TV interview called it “state-sponsored”.
Talking about former SC Judge V R Krishna Iyer, who headed the Concerned Citizens Tribunal, which probed the Gujarat riots and had put out a damning report against Gujarat. “On Sunday, when I was in Kerala, I paid a visit to Justice Iyer, who is also a minister of the Communist Party. He gave me his blessings,” Modi said. He claimed that during his recent visit to Orissa, a third front leader leader told him, “I am against the BJP, but my family is going to vote for the party.”
Modi said, “The last decade was the worst since Independence. The forthcoming election is not about winning and losing, but about deciding the future course of India.” Continuing his diatribe, Modi said a spate of scams under the guard of Congress has caused a huge financial loss to the state exchequer. “This country cannot be allowed to be looted. The country cannot forever stay in a state of helplessness,” he added.
Exhorting BJP workers to increase booth preparedness ahead of elections, Modi said, “Every party worker must ensure victory of the candidate in his respective booth. He must fight for the victory with conviction.”
Modi said Congress was harping only on secondary issues because they are afraid of raising glaring issues like inflation, corruption and good governance. “The three main issues on which the election will be fought are inflation, corruption and good governance. No Congress leader talks about these issues in any of the rallies,” he said.