Diodar (Banaskanta), Sept. 22: One needs a 36-inch chest to accomplish a lot in life and politics, and alas, the Congress is not equipped with one. The Congress is bereft of a “disha” (vision) and a stomach for a fight. The “only weapon” the “Delhi Sultanate” (the Centre) has is the CBI. But even that agency cannot wreak damage to Gujarat.
As Narendra Modi embarked on the second leg of his Vivekananda Yuva Vikas yatra on Friday in north Gujarat, his discourse harked back to motifs, familiar and new.
He subsumed the idea of an “assault” on Gujarat’s “identity and pride” with his own perceived “victimhood” by Delhi and declared war against the UPA and the Congress.
However, the chief minister subtly amended the notion that his pre-poll campaign in Gujarat was a signal that he was playing for bigger stakes in Delhi which the BJP leadership could ignore at its peril. For the present, Modi’s political ambit was circumscribed by Gujarat.
In his “karma bhoomi”, there was no mistaking who was the supremo.
As the motorised chariot rolled through Banaskanta, it was stopped every kilometre by people who poured out of their villages on to the roads.
The grounds where he addressed the three public meetings in the course of the day couldn’t hold the people who turned up on foot, in tempos and buses and on tractors. They spilled on the roads and clung to every word he spoke.
Those who had witnessed his earlier “gaurav” (pride) yatra — done shortly after the 2002 communal pogrom — could see how the turnout had swelled several times. He has since won two elections and is fighting for a third term.
“In the first ‘yatra’, there was an element of curiosity about Modi ‘saheb’, people wanted to see who he was and hear him out. Eleven years later… their enthusiasm is undimmed. The turnout is people’s way of appreciating him for what he has given them,” said senior minister Nitin Patel who accompanied Modi.
The chief minister played amply on the theme of his “achievements” and spotlighted them by using the Centre as a counterpoint.
“You people waited for me patiently under a blistering sun. But you should feel blessed by this sunshine. We have such a bounty that I decided to use it and put up a solar plant that will take energy to the last village and to the last house in that village, 24x7….” he said.
“Now I shall tell you how the motors in Delhi run. They run on 2G and on coalgate. You have heard of cycle thieves, of motor thieves, of gold and jewellery thieves. Have you heard of people who steal coal? You keep sacks of coal in your homes. Does anyone look at the coal or touch it? But these people in Delhi made away with coal worth Rs 2 lakh crore. Don’t forgive them, punish them,” he implored.
Next, Modi harped on another pet obsession: Delhi’s “contempt” for Gujarat and engaged the crowd in a Q&A session.
“The Delhi Sultanate treats Gujarat like an enemy state. Does Gujarat go begging to Delhi?” he asked.
“No,” roared the people.
“Do you live on Delhi’s charity?”
“Do you get your food, water and electricity from Delhi?”
“Then please tell Delhi to stop treating Gujarat like a basket case. This is Sardar Patel’s Gujarat and the people will not suffer injustice of any sort. Gujarat pours Rs 60,000 crore every year into Delhi’s coffers. Imagine, Rs 60,000 crore. Out of this, you get how much from Delhi? Only Rs 6,000 crore. If this is not humiliation, what is it?” asked Modi.
Delhi-Gandhinagar battlelines re-etched, Modi spoke of the “injustices” he “suffered” from the “Sultanate”.
“The Congress can’t see anything but Gujarat and Modi. For 10 years, I have been the victim of Delhi’s calumny, false propaganda. Delhi wonders why Modi doesn’t react, why he is silent. I am silent because I know that Gujarat’s six crore people will reply on my behalf and repay their loans with interest,” he said.