A day after Arvind Kejriwal announced he would take on Narendra Modi in Varanasi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate described the Aam Aadmi Party leader as an agent of Pakistan and an enemy of India.
Modi did not mention Kejriwal by name, but spoke of an “AK 49 who has just given birth to a new party”, referring clearly to Kejriwal’s 49 days as chief minister of Delhi.
“Three AKs have emerged as a unique strength for Pakistan. One is the AK 47 (rifle) which has been used to spill blood in Kashmir. The second is (Defence Minister) A K Antony, who told Parliament that people wearing uniforms of the Pakistani army beheaded our soldiers, even as our Army said that they were Pakistanis,” Modi told a rally in Hiranagar in Kathua, where Pakistani terrorists attacked a police station killing six people, and then went on to kill four Army personnel in adjoining Samba in September last year.
“And the third AK,” Modi said, is “AK 49, who has just given birth to a new party”.
Modi alleged that the map of India on the official website of Kejriwal’s party shows Kashmir as a part of Pakistan. He said one of Kejriwal’s colleagues had advocated a referendum in Kashmir — a reference to views expressed by Prashant Bhushan, which Kejriwal had subsequently said were Bhushan’s own.
Modi blamed the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir on the policy followed by Jawaharlal Nehru. Had the views of then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel prevailed, the people of Kashmir would have been benefitted, he said.
A B Vajpayee had created an atmosphere of trust among the youth of Kashmir, who had started to hope for better days, he said. “We have to carry on ahead on the path shown by him… Development is the answer to problems.”
Describing terrorism as an attack on Kashmiriyat and on humanity, Modi said the youth needed jobs, women needed a situation where they can live with dignity, and the poor needed two square meals a day. “Unfortunately, when I talk of jobs to the poor, price rise, corruption and terrorism, they (the Congress) say that secularism is in danger.”
The Congress, Modi said, could no longer mislead the youth by raising hollow slogans of secularism. “We need jobs, development, communal amity, brotherhood. We have to move ahead.”
Modi, who paid obeisance at the shrine of Vaishno Devi near Katra in the morning, also called upon the people to rid Jammu and Kashmir and the country of dynastic rule.
The statement drew a sharp response from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who tweeted, “I dare NaMo to make exactly the same speech against dynastic politics in Punjab or in Maharashtra. Come on, (put your) money where your mouth is.”
Later in the day, Modi addressed rallies in Bulandshahr and Delhi.