Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday claimed that people have voted keeping in mind the country, and the BJP will return to power by crossing the 300-seat mark. Lacing his address lasting more than 40 minutes with hyperbole, sloganeering and engaging with the crowd, Modi said at the rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone, “When you vote for Lotus (BJP’s poll symbol) you are not pressing a button on a machine but pressing a trigger to shoot terrorists in their chest.”
He said this General Election is different from all the previous ones. “It is unprecedented…people are not voting for a party but for the country. When you vote on Sunday, you will create history — after decades, a government with full majority is being formed in succession. You are strengthening the foundation for a prosperous India.”
He asserted that political pundits will find it difficult to comprehend the large turnout on the last day of a campaign spread over seven phases. He said he began his campaign from Meerut and ended it in Khargone, both places linked to the 1857 war of independence. He repeatedly mentioned the sacrifice of tribal hero Bheema Nayak. Out of eight constituencies in MP that go to the polls on Sunday, Khargone, Dhar and Ratlam-Jhabua are reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
“From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Kutch to Kamrup, there’s only one slogan: abki baar Modi sarkar (this time, a Modi government). In the last three-four days, I am hearing abki baar 300 paar (this time, past 300),’’ he said.
Modi said his optimism is a result of the BJP’s stand on nationalism, development and antyodaya (benefits reaching the last person in the society), and its resolve to end terrorism and Left-wing extremism.
“The country feels that terrorists should be killed by entering their homes. Do you think the approach is good? Are you happy? Aren’t your heads held high? Don’t your chests feel puff up with pride,” he asked the crowd.
He said the Congress’s stand on AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which give special powers to the armed forces in “disturbed areas”) and the sedition law has been rejected by people. “Should not those who back two Prime Ministers be penalised,” he asked, referring to former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remarks.
Abdullah had in April said, “It is fine if other states want to unconditionally be part of India. But we had said we will have our own identity, our own Constitution. At that time [just after Independence], we had appointed our own Sadar-i-Riyasat and our Prime Minister too. By the grace of God we shall bring back these posts.”
Modi also slammed Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy for his purported statement that only people who do not two square meals a day join the Army.
Kumaraswamy had denied making the statement and had accused the state BJP of circulating an “edited video with false interpretation to malign me”. The JD(S) leader had earlier tweeted, “I had said that not all who join defence forces are rich. The PM shuld not play with lives of jawans to get votes. I never said jawans are in army just for livelihood.”
The PM said, “After hearing such statements no one will vote for the Congress in the next 100 years. It was such a dirty statement.’’ He said the Congress did not even bother to distance itself from the statement, which is an insult to the youth and the Army.
“Tribal youths stand at the border not for roti but to face bullets. The soldiers stand there not for their dreams but to fulfill the country’s (dreams),” he said.
He asked the crowd — mostly comprising people from tribal communities — to read a book he had written before he became the Prime Minister to know his commitment to tribal causes and their welfare.
“I spent a few years of my youth as a volunteer among them. As long as Modi and the BJP are there, no one will be able to snatch away their forest and land,’’ he said in an obvious reference to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s charge at a recent rally that the BJP will take away their land and other resources.