|Narendra Modi with other leaders at the election rally in Gaya on Thursday and (above) people hurl footwear at police personnel. Pictures by Suman
Gaya, March 27: Narendra Modi termed the Congress manifesto a “bundle of lies” while severely criticising the growing “terror infrastructure” in two back-to-back rallies in Gaya and Sasaram today.
“The Congress’s manifesto released yesterday is a bundle of lies. The Congress-led UPA government simply forgot what it promised in its 2009 manifesto. Its new manifesto is an eyewash, aimed at turning the attention of the people from a series of mega scams it presided over in the last five years,” Modi said, adding: “The manifesto should serve as a pious communication between the parties and voters.”
Swiftly switching over to Bihar, Modi said: “Enemies of the country exploded bombs at the place (Bodhgaya) from where Lord Buddha preached peace to the entire humanity across the globe. But the government here (Bihar) was not concerned. It was concerned more for its vote bank,” the BJP prime ministerial candidate said, mocking at chief minister Nitish Kumar without naming him: “Let the bombs explode, left the people die — my chair should be safe.”
Modi addressed a well-attended meeting, christened Bharat Vijay Rally, at the Gandhi Maidan here. The rally drew about enthusiastically responsive 30,000 to 35,000 people — stated to be an impressive show given the Maoist-sponsored bandh in Bihar and Jharkhand.
The Maoists blew up two cellphone towers in at Manjhauli and Dumaria Bazaar villages of Gaya district late on Wednesday night, just hours before Modi’s rally, said superintendent of police Nishant Tewari said.
Unlike Nitish Kumar’s campaign meet at remote Karmauli village on the Gaya-Dobhi road on February 25, Modi’s rally lacked the presence of women and Muslims. There were hardly 200 women attending the Bharat Vijay Rally and the Muslims were conspicuous by their absence. Explaining the intent behind the name of the rally, Modi said: “The rally aimed at attaining vijay (victory) over kusashan (bad governance), price rise, all pervading corruption and scams, hunger and terrorism.”
Predicting the BJP’s victory ahead of the polls, Modi said: “It is the first election, which was not being fought by the political parties. Rather the people are fighting it. They will eventually get the government of their choice, they will elect a government which will emancipate them from the scourge of terrorism, scams, price rise, unemployment and policy paralysis.”
Coming back on the theme of terror strike in Bodhgaya in July last year, he said the terrorists, besides carrying out an act of sacrilege at the holiest shrine of the Buddhist community, had grievously affected the tourism industry. “Buddhist shrines are a great tourist spots. Tourism ensures employment to various shades of people — vendors, rickshaw-pullers, hoteliers, travel agents, artefact makers and restaurant owners,” Modi said, adding: “The Bodhgaya shrine has registered a decline in the flow of national and international tourists. But the ones (read Nitish and others) doing vote bank politics are least concerned about how terrorism had posed a big threat the country.”
“Neither the government sitting in Delhi nor the one in Patna was ready to initiate action against the terror machine fast spreading,” said Modi, advocated for a “strong government, which could add effectively and decisively against the enemies of India.”
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Nand Kishore Yadav, Lok Sabha candidates Hari Manjhi (Gaya), Sushil Kumar Singh (Aurangabad) and Arun Kumar (Jehanabad) and party leader Dharmendra Pradhan were also present at the rally.
On the other hand, the BJP questioned Modi’s security following the Maoist blasts hours before the rally. Though director-general of police Abhayanand had said yesterday that “we have anticipated all types of threats from the Maoists and terrorists”, the BJP leaders took a swipe at policing.
“The BJP will like to draw attention of people and media on the number of threats, attacks which are continuing particularly targeting BJP rallies, even more particularly targeting Modi’s meets,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in Delhi. She said the party had earlier approached the home minister drawing his attention to the media reports on the threat to BJP leaders.