Navsari (south Gujarat), Sept. 22: An unrepentant Narendra Modi today replayed the infamous ‘hum paanch, hamare pachchis’ speech, adding more inflammatory words and ignoring an uproar.
Emboldened by the reception for the third phase of the Gaurav Yatra, Modi asked the crowd at a meeting today: “What is wrong if I express concern over the population explosion' Is it not a fact that from 30 crore in 1947 the country’s population has crossed 100 crore' Isn’t it a problem we all should be worried about' I was doing just that.”
Then he repeated the words he had used on September 9 and added a sentence: “Hum paanch, hamare pachchis. In the third generation, they become 625.”
On September 9, Modi had said those who are pursuing such a population policy should be “taught a lesson”. Today, he did not make any direct mention of the minority community.
Modi and the state BJP had been insisting that he was misquoted on September 9 despite a private channel airing the tape of the speech.
The repeated references to the controversial remarks are being seen as a sign that Modi has made up his mind to consolidate the perceived polarisation among the voters, which, the BJP feels, will benefit the party.
“This is why Modi is not talking about communal harmony. He is very clear in his mind that it will be an exercise in futility if he tries to win over the minority community,” said a BJP leader.
Simultaneously, Modi has concentrated the rest of his firepower on the Congress. Today, he dared the Congress to a debate on the population problem and continued with his tirade against Sonia Gandhi.
Modi dubbed Sonia “a fake Gandhi” who does not even know that Gandhi was born in Porbandar.
“Gandhi had advised the Congressmen to dissolve the party after Independence but the Congressmen did not close their shop as they take command from a fake Gandhi,” he added.
At a school for the hearing impaired, run by a noted Gandhian and freedom fighter, most children bearing BJP flags sat through Modi’s 10-minute speech. The speech was translated into sign language by a teacher. But not everyone was impressed. Aslam Pathan left the venue as Modi was making his speech.
“I was highly disappointed. I was expecting that he would say something about social harmony but he is talking something I cannot relate to,” Pathan said.
Along with his mechanised rath’s progress across the state, the chief minister has finetuned an interactive formula to keep the Godhra pot boiling.
Addressing small gatherings on the road side, Modi would ask: “Are all of you aware of what happened at Godhra, who burnt alive innocent kar sevaks and who are trying to get them released'” Usually, the answer is “yes”.The next question: “Were any people killed in your town, was any shop burnt'” The answer from rural Gujarat is a loud “no.
Modi then concludes: That mean your town was peaceful. But the image the Congress has created is that Gujaratis are mindless killers. Should not such a party be taught a lesson'”
Local units of the BJP, too, are not entirely happy with the focus on the polarisation. A party worker warned a BJP leader from Ahmedabad that the people of Navsari would throw the party out of power, if the roads are not repaired.