Khadodra (Surat), Dec. 6: Narendra Modi has urged voters in Gujarat to “fulfil” Mahatma Gandhi’s “unfulfilled dream” and wipe out every trace of the Congress from the state in the impending elections.
The chief minister invoked Gandhi’s umbilical connect with his state and said it was “incumbent” on Gujaratis to pay their “real homage” to the Mahatma by voting en bloc against the Congress.
Addressing a meeting in a village just off the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway, Modi deployed his stock-in-trade campaign tactic, engaging the surcharged crowd in a Q & A.
“This is Gandhiji’s land. He has an unfulfilled dream. Will you make it come true?” he asked.
“Yes, yes,” the people responded in a verbal thunderclap.
“You will ask what was this dream. Towards the end of his life, the Mahatma had beseeched senior leaders of the Congress to disband the party because it had served the goal of achieving independence. But these Congress friends of ours refused to listen to Gandhiji’s counsel because they felt it would not profit them in any way,” Modi said.
“They used Gandhiji to serve their ends but, at that crucial juncture, concluded that their paths to political destiny were different from the one the Mahatma had envisaged. So you, the youths in this crowd, have to redeem his unrealised wish by throwing out the Congress, lock, stock and barrel. It’s a burden on the country.”
On the eve of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Gujarat — she is scheduled to address two public meetings in Mandvi (Surat) and Keshod (Saurashtra) on December 7 — Modi took off against her and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (slated to follow Sonia), darting taunt after blistering taunt.
“The Delhi leaders are frightened. I heard all of them, including the yuvraj (Rahul Gandhi), are descending upon Gujarat. They are scared to speak here. I gather their speeches are worked on for 10 days, a team of 25 vets each and every word. But I will make their tasks easier by setting a question paper for them. You will agree that even a below-average student scoring less than 35 per cent might pass with flying colours if a question paper is given to him days in advance. So, I am giving Manmohan Singh his question paper beforehand,” he said to roaring applause.
Modi’s “questions” were contextualised in his pet theme: the “injustice” done to Gujarat by Delhi.
Why did the Centre still not recompense the Rs 1,500 crore loss allegedly suffered by the state because of a delayed monsoon? Why was it sitting on declaring a list of people the state government had asked to be included in the BPL category? Why did it refuse to increase the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam despite a Supreme Court directive? Why was nothing done to designate the area covering the footsteps of Gandhi’s Dandi March as a heritage site?
Modi, however, said nothing about his “posers” to Sonia.
The speech, delivered in Hindi to pander to the huge turnout of migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the audience, claimed that his 12-year record in office was so “spotless” that his political opponents could only “nit-pick” on “small” lapses in development works.
“They say, if a 200km road had to be constructed, Modi built only 180km. Or, if there were 500 schools to be finished, Modi did only 475… Now if you want to attack Delhi on issues, what would you pick on?” he asked the crowd.
“Bhrashtachar (corruption)”was the answer.
“The list is interminable,” Modi said, citing the CWG and 2G scandals and the controversy over coal block allocations.
In the run-up to the two-phase elections on December 13 and 17, no Congress leader of consequence has bitten Modi’s baits so far.
The farthest that anyone went was state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia’s name-calling — “monkey” and a “rat”.
Modi today picked on Modhwadia’s comment, saying he was happy to be both monkey and rat.
Monkey, because like Hanuman, who ripped open his chest to reveal the images of Ram and Sita embedded deep in his heart, he too had “six crore Gujaratis” lodged inside his chest.
Rat, because the rodent chauffeured Ganesha.