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Narendra Modi throws down gauntlet, challenges Dilli Durbar

Author: Sandhya Jain
Publication: Niticentral.com
Date: December 2, 2013
URL: http://www.niticentral.com/2013/12/02/narendra-modi-throws-down-gauntlet-challenges-dilli-durbar-163734.html

In a derisive, yet combative mood, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi simultaneously challenged the Congress-led UPA coalition in Delhi and the Sheila Dikshit Government in the city on multiple counts of bad governance, corruption, mismanagement of the economy, and of Modi-baiting as a ruse to dodge public accountability and distract the public. Carefully avoiding names or pseudonyms, he made a gentle dig at the Congress leadership’s inability to face the public in the capital (as evidenced in the cancellation of the Prime Minister’s rally, while Rahul Gandhi’s failure to hold crowd attention has been publicly demonstrated too often to be denied).

Speaking to a devoted gathering in Shahdara in east Delhi on Saturday afternoon, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate said elections are the greatest celebration of democracy; they are the occasion for political parties to explain their performance and achievements to the people and for those in Government to account for expenditure undertaken from the public weal. That is why Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh undertook a yatra of 7000 km to meet the people, while in Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan traversed the State for two months to complete this task. The ‘shehenshahs’ ruling Rajasthan and Delhi, however, are too arrogant to believe that they must submit accounts to the people. Delhi being the capital of the nation, he declaimed, the Union Government bigwigs should also have come into the public arena and explained their performance to the people, but they are all running scared, he observed. The storming of the Congress bastions in Delhi concluded with a fiery speech in Chandni Chowk, constituency of Union Minister Kapil Sibal.

What Congress lacks in political courage, the BJP veteran mocked, it makes up via an army of dedicated souls who minutely nitpick every speech of his, pounce on every slip of the tongue (a la Shyamji and Syama) and go to town on Twitter, Facebook, Press conferences, and so on. Alluding to the inadvertent errors made because of his tendency to speak extempore, he said, “If I say 56 instead of 55, an army will sit on the computer and do research and say ‘he should have said 55.5’”.

In the closest he has come in public to referring to the allegations levelled by Pradeep Sharma known as stalk gate, which Congress and its friendly intellectuals are exploiting to the hilt to defame him via thinly veiled innuendos, Narendra Modi said that all kinds of loose talk was being indulged in, “anaap shanaap arop laga rahe hain”. It is an irony, the Gujarat strongman said, that though elections are due in Delhi and Rajasthan, the friends “ask accounts of Modi in Gujarat”. Deriding the ‘shehenshahs’ (Congress leaders), he pointed out that these ploys had been used in the Gujarat elections a year ago and had failed; the people gave Congress the boot; yet they are now coming with same old lies on a national platform. The people, he predicted, would not be fooled.

Why, he challenged, does this army of Congress faithful not do computer-based research on the price of electricity in Gujarat, a subject on which Congress is continuously spinning untrue tales? Nailing Congress facts and statistics to effectively demonstrate the superiority of the Gujarat model, he asserted that the price of electricity in Gujarat for the first 30 units is only Rs 1.50 per unit (against Rs 3.90 in Delhi), and the rate above 200 units is Rs 4.57 per unit (as opposed to Rs 5.80 in Delhi). The price of commercial power in Delhi averages at Rs. 8.41 per unit, whereas in Gujarat it is a standard Rs 4.92 per unit; and industrial power is only Rs 6.13 per unit as against an average of Rs 7.55 in Delhi. “So who is giving cheaper electricity”, he asked, adding that these lies would probably continue had he not come to Delhi to puncture them.

Scoffing at the Congress’s ‘toli of rakshasas” who erect walls to protect the party whenever it is under attack and imagine that they “are great elite”, Narendra Modi observed that these food soldiers repeatedly challenged him to explain his vision for the country. But why, he countered, did they not ask the Congress for solutions after it has ruined the country and the economy? Perhaps, he mused, they think attacking him is the only way to save the Congress, or perhaps they realise that the BJP is going to come to power in Delhi.

Puncturing Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s frequent attacks on migrants to the city, the BJP veteran said that in Surat, there was a phenomenal growth in population on account of migrations from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, because people needed to earn a livelihood. But far from degenerating into a slum, Surat treated its ‘guests’ with love and received the most beautiful city prize from Centre. There is no excuse for the decline of a city, he asserted, the issue here is the attitude (neeyat) of the ruling party.

Congress, despite having great economists as Prime Minister and Finance Minister, whom “we neither challenge nor criticise”, who were called a ‘dream team’ when the UPA first came to power, have taken the country to the depths of despair. They should not teach economics to us, said the Gujarat Chief Minister, and if they do not want to learn economics from us, they should at least have learnt from PV Narasimha Rao and Atal ji, both of whom understood the common man and tried to mitigate his suffering. Yet the party, far from doing anything to reduce price rise as promised in one hundred days, tolerates a Minister cum “great intellectual” who says that prices have risen because the poor, instead of eating dry rotis are eating two vegetables with their meals. This sickening insult, he said, has come from a man who imagines that he was first in line when god was distributing brains and the rest of us were left brainless.

Hitting out at the entitlement class, Narendra Modi said that for such intellectuals, an income of Rs 26 per day puts a family above the poverty line. “Can we drink even two cups of tea in that”, he asked, adding to thundering applause, “I am particularly concerned about chai-walas”.

Bad governance, he warned, is like diabetes and saps the strength of the nation. The current round of elections in five States present a huge challenge to parties, yet the Congress evades a discussion on the crippling price rise. One minister asked if it was the duty of the Government to sell onions, yet that is precisely what it is doing now, and somehow the Election Commission has permitted this violation of the code of conduct.

The Delhi Government, he lamented, had not only not cleaned the pollution in the Yamuna, but had morally dirtied it with the Commonwealth and other scams, cheating the people on all fronts. In contrast, a small nation like Korea had used the Olympics to showcase its progress before the world.

At Sultanpur Majra, Narendra Modi lashed out at the inability of a small city-state like Delhi failing to provide adequate drinking water to the citizens though Delhi, the Centre, and Haryana were all ruled by the Congress. The Congress brings Acts for everything, from the right to eat to the right to walk on the road, but takes no concrete action on any front. Haryana insists it will not give water to Delhi and the Centre is unable to use its power and authority to get water for the capital. The real reason, he said, is because of the water tanker industry which enriches the party leaders.

Gujarat too, he said, had great water scarcity, poor rains, a huge desert and no river like the Yamuna. The Border Security Force jawans guarding the border used to get water rations even after six decades of independence. The BJP Government, he said, laid a pipeline to bring the pure and holy water of the Narmada to the border, simultaneously watering 9000 villages along the way. It is all a question of political will, the desire to do, he emphasised. Congress, he said, believed in the politics of dependency, it wanted to keep the poor on crumbs. Congress avoided all debate on development and does not admit that the great pride of Delhi, its Metro, was begun by Atal ji and the bogies are made in Gujarat, but the Delhi Government puts the achievement in its own pocket!

In a tacit admission of the challenge posed by the fledgling Aam Admi Party, Narendra Modi for the first time in his public speeches in the capital, lambasted the party for betraying the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare, and urged the people to boot it with its own broom.
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