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Servant, not ruler: Modi

Itanagar, March 31: Narendra Modi today projected a humble image by saying that he was not a ruler but a servant of the people while taking jibes at the Congress at his first rally in the Arunachal Pradesh capital.

Desh ko shasak nahin, sevak chahiye, sevak. Aur mein shasak nahin, sevak hoon (the country needs a servant not a ruler and I am a servant, not a ruler,” the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate told a gathering of about 8,000 people at the Indira Gandhi Park.

A sea of people in orange caps cheered him on as he accused the Congress of curbing democracy by using “unfair means of intimidation” to get 11 of its candidates elected unopposed to the Assembly.

“There is no scope for development of the youth in Arunachal as long as MLAs are sold and bought like vegetables in a sabzi mandi (vegetable market),” he added.

Speaking of the withdrawal of the BJP’s nominee against Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki, who has often dismissed talks of a “Modi wave” in the state, the Gujarat strongman said, “Even the chief minister is afraid of contesting the election”. Sharpening his attack against Tuki, he asked, “Where will you run to when there is no one in New Delhi to protect you?”

“How long will this continue?” he asked the crowd. “May 16 is not far,” he added, referring to the date for counting of votes.

Continuing his tirade against the Congress, Modi claimed that the party in the state did not show accountability towards the people.

He also made scathing remarks against AICC president Sonia Gandhi, saying that she had “not once said anything to show her support for the youth of the region” at her rally in Assam yesterday.

Hoping to make an emotional connect with voters, Modi referred to Nido Tania’s murder in New Delhi and claimed that he had come to Arunachal Pradesh “with a heavy heart”.

“Incidents such as these (Tania’s murder) make me question what has happened to our traditions,” he said and accused Sonia of not talking about this at yesterday’s rally.

Aiming his guns at Sonia, Modi stoked the controversial case of two Italian marines who had shot down fishermen off the Kerala coast. “Who was managing affairs in Delhi? Who allowed them to go back to Italy?” he asked.

While he took pot shots at the Congress, Modi avoided saying anything concrete about issues facing the state.

In February, at Pasighat in East Siang district, he had referred to the hydropower issue that has faced some opposition in Arunachal East Parliamentary constituency and had not made harsh attacks on the Congress. Today, however, he was more direct in his criticism of the ruling Congress, often referring to Sonia as “madam ji”.

“While his speech was entertaining, he should have said something about what he plans to do for the state’s development if he becomes the PM,” said Majum, a first-time voter who attended the rally.

Another young member of the audience, Tali, observed, “Modi must be the best orator in Indian politics right now”.