Addressing his first public rally in the national capital after being anointed the BJPs prime ministerial candidate,Narendra Modi on Sunday projected himself as the protector of Indias pride,while raising Manmohan Singhs diminished leadership in the wake of remarks by Rahul Gandhi and alleged insult by Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.
He also assiduously fashioned the 2014 elections as a contest between a whimsical shehzada (prince),implying Rahul,and a chai bechne wala (tea vendor) like him,before ending his speech that lasted more than an hour with exhortations of Vande Mataram.
Among those in the massive rally- police estimates put the crowd strength at 1.5 lakh-were several diplomats from Russia,Japan,Germany and Spain.
At a time when the PM is meeting Sharif,there is suspicion whether you can hold your head high,Modi said about the PM. Congress vice-president ne aapki pagdi uchhaal di (demeaned you). Why should Sharif respect you now? How will Singh assert Indian rights over the PoK,demand dismantling of terror infrastructure in Pakistan or get back heads of Indian soldiers beheaded by Pakistani armymen,Modi went on. The UPA coalition is headed by a sardar but is not asardar.
Going on to attack Sharif,he said: You do not have the status to call our Prime Minister a dehaati aurat.
Modi used the undermining of Singhs authority to also rip into Rahul,saying the Congress leader had committed a sin. Calling his public rubbishing of an ordinance approved by the PM and his Cabinet as an unprecedented event,he said: Desh ko tay karna hoga,jab shehzada Pradhan Mantri ki pagdi uchhal raha ho,loktantra,samvidhaan,sansad aur Cabinet ka apmaan kar raha ho (The country will have to decide,at a time when the prince is insulting the PM,is insulting democracy,the Constitution,Parliament and the Cabinet).
The battle is between parivarshahi (dynasty) and loktantra (democracy). When dynasty is throttling democracy,the electorate has to decide whether the country will run on the whims of the shehzada or on the basis of the Constitution.
Modi next targeted Congress allies,asking if they felt comfortable working with the prince. The Prime Minister has already declared he is ready to work under the crown prince. I want to ask UPA partners whether they want to work under the Constitution or under the whims of a prince.
Positioning himself as a contrast to Rahul,Modi said he was there to serve the public and not to dictate to them as subjects. A person who used to be a tea vendor,selling tea in rail compartments,has reached this place. I was never a ruler,nor am I today and never dream of becoming so. I was your servent and continue to be a servant and will remain your servant in the future, he said. I assure you that neither Narendra Modi nor the BJP will ever break your trust and let you down. We will never allow your dreams to be shattered. We will live for your dreams.
Apparently taking on the allegations of him being anti-minority,the BJP leader asserted to abide by the Constitution and invoked his Gujarat election slogan Sabka sath,Sabka vikas to reiterate that he seeks growth that benefits all communities,including minorities. For me,the government has only one religion nation first,India first. The government has only one holy book the Constitution. The government has only one way to administer sabka saath,sabka vikas, he said.
The UPA rule,however,was marked by corruption,misgovernance and leadership deficit,he said,accusing governments within government for the state of the economy.
In New Delhi,there is a government of the mother,there is government of the son,then there is a government for the son-in-law. Then we also have a coalition government which is like governments within government. Every department is a government unto themselves. One department is against another department as if they are from other party governments. We have heard about every government being rattled by the government of the Environment Ministry, Modi said.
The BJP leader singled out three sectors the Railways,national highways and aviation to highlight the lack of sense of purpose in the government.
Between 2007-13,the domestic aviation industry has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 53,000 crore while incurring debts to the tune of Rs 1,00,000 crore despite Rs 30,000 crore of package from the government, Modi said,highlighting similar underachievements in the other two sectors.
He raised the NDA governments performance in the highway sector as contrast. Ataljis (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) government created about six crore jobs while the UPA government has created only about 27 lakh jobs during 2004-09, Modi claimed. The future of youth is not secure in the hands of the UPA.
Claiming that about 20,000 MW of power generation capacity was lying idle in Gujarat for want of fuel supply from the Centre,Modi said all that is needed to turn these sectors around is intention and political will. The country needs a dream team in 2014,not this dirty team.
Accusing the UPA government of being punch drunk on corruption,he also deplored that the PM had pedalled Indias poverty before US President Barack Obama during their talks in Washington. I wonder whether he was referring to the state of mind definition of poverty that the shehzada (Rahul) refers or to the poverty that we see in the streets.