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Since 1st March, 1999
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Modi lobs Manthara jibe at Sonia

Unai (South Gujarat), Sept. 21: From the daughter of Italy to Mian Musharraf to Manthara — Narendra Modi was back to his pet pastime of calling Sonia Gandhi names again today.

Kicking off the third round of his Gaurav Yatra from the Unai Mata temple — greatly revered by the tribals of south Gujarat — Modi lambasted Sonia for heading a “bunch of modern-day Mantharas” bent on delaying the advent of Ram rajya in the state.

The chief minister’s reference was to Manthara of Ramayana who is believed to have had a hand in sending Ram to exile.

As she had delayed Ram rajya, Sonia and her despicable band had forced his yatra to be put off three times, Modi said.

“The Congress is free to launch its own yatra, but it is interested only in stalling the Gaurav Yatra and defaming Gujaratis all over the world,” he claimed.

Modi played the tribal card loud and clear, targeting the Congress for having allegedly done nothing for them during its 45-year reign.

In contrast, the BJP had launched several tribal welfare schemes during its four-year rule, partly solved drinking water problems and even built the Birsa Munda Bhavan, which would be dedicated to the state’s tribals on September 25.

The BJP, he said, was the only party that cared for tribals: it had the maximum number of tribal MPs and MLAs, including a chief minister.

In his 40-minute speech, Modi castigated the Congress for “not being interested in (ensuring the return) of peace and normality to the state”.

This was clear as it had not condemned last night’s communal clash in Vadodara, which, he claimed, was a fall-out of Abu Salem’s arrest in Lisbon.

“It is really unfortunate that the arrest of this most wanted criminal caused heartburn in Vadodara, where some elements fomented trouble,” the chief minister said.

Modi repeatedly harped on the alleged anti-tribal role of the Congress. He cited the case of Amarsinh Chaudhary, saying the “poor man” had been sacked as state unit chief for “speaking the truth”.

He pulled out a 1987 letter Chaudhary, then CLP leader, had written to the governor, saying the Congress was withdrawing support to the Shankarsinh Vaghela-led BJP government as it was “inefficient, corrupt, communal and undemocratic”. The same Vaghela had now been crowned Gujarat Congress chief and Chaudhary dumped to make way for him, Modi said.

Not only was Sonia’s party anti-tribal, it was, paradoxically, anti-Christian as well, he claimed.

Though the lady from Italy rushed to Dangs in 1998 during the attacks on Christians, she was the very person who opposed the candidacy of P.A. Sangma — a Christian — for Speaker and that of P.C. Alexander for President, Modi pointed out.

“This exposes the Congress’ anti-Christian character. Actually, the Congress is essentially a communal party,” he concluded.

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