On last day of campaigning, Modi plays Gujarati pride card

Narendra Modi during a poll campaign at Kheralu in Mehsana on Monday. (PTI) Narendra Modi during a poll campaign at Kheralu in Mehsana on Monday. (PTI)

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 …continued »