Message clear as Narendra Modi begins poll yatra: it’s Gujarat vs Centre

The Centre was the target of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s attacks on Tuesday as he launched his Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra,seen as the beginning of his election campaign.

Written by Express News Service | Becharaji (mehsana) | Published:September 11, 2012 10:25 pm

The Centre was the target of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s attacks on Tuesday as he launched his Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra,seen as the beginning of his election campaign.

With talk of him being the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the air,Modi made it a Centre vs Gujarat rhetoric,saying the state had set an example that the moribund UPA government could follow.

Flanked by senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh,he set off from the Becharji pilgrimage town in north Gujarat on the same air-conditioned rath that BJP veteran L K Advani had used for his Jan Chetna yatra last year against corruption and black money.

Starting with the coal block row,Modi dared the UPA government to order an SIT probe into it like had been done in the case of the 2002 riots. “If the Prime Minister is really a clean man,he should announce a special SIT under the Supreme Court to probe his own role in (coal block allocations). Gujarat and Modi are facing many SITs everyday. The PM should dare to face at least one.”

In an oblique reference to the CBI chargesheeting his former minister Amit Shah in an encounter case,he said: “The Congress cannot fight,so it uses the CBI. I know that the Congress and CBI are going to jointly contest elections this time.”

With a crowd of 70,000 people listening,Modi also referred to the recent blackouts that hit many states to underline that while the Centre had taken the nation to the dark ages,Gujarat was the only state “shining”.

“Now the world compares India to Gujarat,and I will say Gujarat is heavier on the weighing scale than India.”

The yatra was timed to coincide with Swami Vivekananda’s famous speech at Chicago this day in 1893 and with the gutkha ban coming into effect. Not to miss that it also happened to be 9/11,Modi said: “The world has two 9/11s,one of Vivekananda’s message of universal brotherhood,and the other 100 years later when bin Laden attacked America and showed the world devil’s ways.”

The country needed a leader like Vivekananda and development like Gujarat,the CM added. “Today Gujarat’s voice is becoming India’s voice. It’s not Narendra Modi’s voice but it is the roaring of six crore Gujaratis. The nation wants what Gujarat has,” he said.

Attacking the Gujarat Congress’s ‘disha badlo,dasha badlo (change direction to change condition)’ campaign,Modi said: “I would like to given an open advice to the PM. If you don’t know in what direction to take the country,just blindly follow Gujarat.”

He also likened the Congress to a “cancer-causing gutkha” and called for a “gutkha-free Gujarat,Congress-free Gujarat”. Claiming he was afraid of an attack on his yatra,he added: “There has never been blood or violence in any election in Gujarat,so I request the Congress to act responsibly.”

Criticising the Congress for attacking “constitutional bodies”,Modi said: “When the Supreme Court raised corruption in the 2G case,the Congress leaders started targeting the SC. Now when the CAG has exposed the biggest ever coal scam,the Congress has started dishonouring CAG. This is the style of Indira Gandhi which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are following.”

Jaitley said the world is talking about Gujarat’s development. “An International magazine (Time) put Gujarat’s development story on the cover page while the same magazine called the PM an ‘underachiever’.”

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