Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi for meeting the Chinese Ambassador during the recent border standoff at Doklam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that it was a matter of “great sadness” that the Congress Vice-President did not “trust the country or its government” during that period.
Addressing an election rally in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh at Rehan in Kangra district, home to a sizeable number of current and former members of the armed forces, Modi praised the courage and “sensible approach” of the Indian Army under difficult circumstances during the border face-off with China.
“Doklam ke andar Bharat ki sena badi bahaduri se dati huyi thi. Parakram, purusharth aur dhairya ke saath, 72 din tak jahan raat ko minus degrees hota hai, hamare sainik raat bhar khade the. Idhar se Cheen khada tha udhar se Bharat ki sena. Kuch bhi ho sakta tha. Poore desh mein chinta aur charcha thi. Log kehte the, ‘Modiji, 1962 ko bhoolna nahin’. Lekin hamein Bharat ke sanskaron par vishwas tha. Hamari sena ki soojh-boojh par vishwas tha. Par yeh iss desh ke liye badi dukh ki baat hai ke Congress ka sansad mein 12-15 saal se baitha huya koi vyakti jiske parivar ke log… pita pradhan mantri rahein ho, daadi pradhan mantri rahein hon, nana PM rahein ho, janam se jinko raj parivar mein palne-badhne ka avsar mila ho, woh desh pe bharosa na karein, sarkar pe bharosa na karein aur Cheen ke rajdoot se milke poochein ke Doklam mein kya chal raha hai. Yeh desh ka apmaan hai ki nahin hai (Inside Doklam, the Indian Army was holding its ground courageously. There was determination, there was patience. For 72 days, our soldiers maintained vigil at a place where the mercury plummets below zero in the night. On one side stood China, and on the other the Indian Army. Anything could have happened. There was concern and discussion in the country. People were saying ‘Modiji, don’t forget 1962’. But I had faith in Indian tradition, and the sensible approach of the Indian Army. But it is a cause of great sadness to the country that an individual who has served 10-15 years in Lok Sabha, and whose family members… father was a prime minister, grandmother was a prime minister, great grandfather was a prime minister, who had the opportunity to grow up in a privileged household, he doesn’t trust the country, its government and goes and meets the Chinese ambassador to ask what is happening in Doklam. Is this an insult to the country or not?).”
In a speech that lasted over 50 minutes, Modi also called upon the people of the state, where voting for Assembly polls will be held on November 9, to bid farewell to the “corruption-ridden” rule of the Congress by voting “overwhelmingly” for the BJP and “breaking all past records”. Listing mining, forest, tenders, transfers and drugs as the “five mafias” that “flourished under Congress rule” in the state, Modi said that the BJP would rout these “demons” if elected to power. “These mafias are robbing the state of its rich minerals, forests, playing with the future of youths by way of the drugs racket… tenders were being allotted to ‘bhai-bhatija’ and people had to pay bribes for getting postings of their choice,” he said. Referring to Himachal as the land of gods, Modi said, “It is time to rid ‘devbhoomi’ of these demons.”
Mocking Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as a candidate who is “out on bail,” Modi said, “And they had the audacity to release their manifesto promising zero tolerance for corruption. Even a child would not be taken in by them.” Modi said he knew the people of Himachal as he had spent many years here as state in-charge, and expressed the hope that they would rout the “corrupt Congress”. “Devbhoomi ko inn rakshason se mukt karna hai ke nahin (Do you want to free the land of gods from the clutches of these demons or not)?” he asked.
Describing Kangra district as “veer bhoomi (land of the brave)”, Modi said, “Every other day, a martyr’s last remains wrapped in a Tricolour are received by villages in the state.” Referring indirectly to a recent statement by Congress leader P Chidambaram, Modi claimed that when “Himachalis and Hindustani soldiers had sacrificed their lives for the country and are fighting cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, a Congress leader had insulted these heroes by saying the demand for azadi in Kashmir was justified”.
Modi also accused the Congress of “bhrashtachaar (corruption)”, ‘pariwaarwaad’ (nepotism)” and “sampardayaik rang mein rangi (one that’s coloured in communal tomes)”. “The Congress party of today has nothing in common with the one that Mahatma Gandhi was a part of, many freedom lovers were a part of. Today, the Congress is only about one family and its interests,” he said.