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Yatra rolls with temple slur on Pak

Ambaji (North Gujarat), Oct. 5: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi today kicked off the fourth phase of his Gaurav Yatra from this temple town by blaming Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for the attack on the Swaminarayan temple, which forced a postponement of his programme.

Launching a blistering attack on “pseudo-secularists”, Modi said: “A section of politicians maintained that terrorists had attacked the Akshardham temple because I had criticised Miya Musharraf. Those who want to worship Musharraf can do so and we have no objections to that, but for us he is enemy number one and we will continue to thwart his evil designs.”

“If I die, thousands of Narendra Modis will be born,” he said, drawing applause from women, who were present in large numbers. Modi sounded like former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when he said: “I will fight terrorism till my last breath.”

In his 40-minute speech, Modi talked about the steps taken by his government to improve the lot of women. He asked everyone to ensure that no girl remains uneducated and advised the audience, mostly from drought-hit north Gujarat, to adopt “drip irrigation”, an idea that a former Narmada development minister and well-known expert in water resource management had said was not viable.

Union minister Uma Bharti, who flagged off the fourth phase of the yatra, underlined the importance of women’s power, which, she claimed, was solidly behind the chief minister.

Attacking the Congress for not condemning the Godhra incident, Bharti said the Swaminarayan temple attack was the culmination of a malicious campaign unleashed against Gujarat, which boosted the morale of the militants.

Stating that combating terrorists was not enough, the minister said it was equally important to attack elements within the country, which were supporting the militants.

She called Gujarat Congress chief Shankersinh Vaghela “Mama Shakuni”, a character in the epic Mahabharata, who instigated Duryodhana to declare war on the Pandavas.

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