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On last day of campaigning, Modi plays Gujarati pride card
On the last day of campaigning, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi projected himself as Gujarati asmita (pride), a son of the soil, who must get the support of his state to become the Prime Minister. Addressing a rally at Kheralu in Patan Lok Sabha constituency, where AICC president Sonia Gandhi, too, had addressed a rally on April 24, Modi termed his race to the PM chair as a “once-in-a-century opportunity”.
“Earlier, Sardar Patel had got this opportunity. But we lost it. Had he become the PM then, we wouldn’t have to worry now,” Modi said, alerting voters not to miss the chance that comes once in hundred years. Gujarat goes to polls in a single phase on Wednesday.
“Why should Gujarat vote for an MP when it can directly choose a PM?” wondered Modi, dressed in saffron. He added, “The election in Gujarat is not about the Congress or the BJP. It is also not about whom you choose as a Member of Parliament (MP).”
Speaking in Gujarati at Kheralu, where he arrived more than 2 hours late, he said, “Now, do not consider caste differences or local conflicts, BJP or Congress. The only thing is Gujarat’s son, son of the soil — that’s the only mantra.”
Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi, Modi dubbed him as a “specimen” who has “little knowledge” of Gujarat. He also alleged that the Congress has so far sent 100 emissaries to his home town of Vadnagar to find out if he ever used to sell tea or not.
“If you want to relieve stress, listen to Rahul’s speeches. As per his mathematics, there are 27,000 crore jobs lying vacant in Gujarat. How can this be possible when the total population of Gujarat is six crores ? What kind of namuna (specimen) has the Congress brought?” asked Modi
Accusing Rahul of spreading lies, Modi raked up the issue of former Gujarat CM late Amarsinh Chaudhay from the Congress being implicated by Gujarat Lokayukta. “Rahul says Gujarat has no Lokayukta. I want to tell him that Lokayukta has already given its first report in which late Chaudhary has been accused of forest wood scam. It is not our culture to speak about those who have left us. But they are forcing me.” Modi addressed six rallies, covering north, north east, central Gujarat and Saurashtra on the last day.
Modi also accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi of heaping injustice on Gujarat over the issue of Narmada dam for her “political gains”. “Sonia claimed that people of Gujarat are deprived of drinking water. I want to tell you that during Congress regime, water was sent to Saurashtra region through trains.Now, we have laid huge pipelines for that,” Modi said.
Modi also lambasted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his address. “Congress knows that a tsunami is coming. But our PM can’t see it. That is not surprising, because he can’t see India’s problems too, such as inflation and corruption,” alleged Modi.
Speaking at a rally in Amreli in support of BJP Lok Sabha candidate Naran Kachhadia, Modi invoked Sardar Patel, asking the people of Gujarat to pay homage to the legendary freedom fighter by voting him to power in Delhi, and said if he is sent to jail he will open a tea stall there. Speaking at another public meeting at Lunawada in the Panchmahals district in support of BJP candidate Prabhatsinh Chauhan, Modi continued his attack on Rahul, who had said the CM was taking undue credit for Amul (milk) revolution. “Rahul bhaiya had said Modi keeps saying he gives milk to Delhi… then what he said… I cannot even speak that… You can watch it on YouTube… can the country be given in the hands of such a person?” he asked. At another rally in Dahod district, Modi said. “Rahul bhaiya does not know how to maintain dignity in public.
The mother-son duo is so angry with me that if I come in front of them they will eat me raw. For 60 years, no one has challenged their Sultanate. For the first time, a tea-vendor from Gujarat is challenging them.”
— With PTI inputs