|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Modi promises to take Hindutva to all Congress-ruled states
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | January 13, 2003 00:07 IST
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday warned all Congress chief ministers of a Hindutva onslaught as he comes visiting their states.
Addressing a mammoth rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, Modi said: "I have come to inquire about [Maharashtra Chief Minister] Vilasrao Deshmukh's health. He had come to Gujarat to campaign against me. I want to know how he is feeling now. And let me tell you, I will go to all the 14 Congress-ruled states and inquire about everyone's health," said Modi.
"When the BJP won, people said it was a victory for Hindutva. But let me tell you even if the BJP had lost, Hindutva would have returned victorious. Hindutva is a culture that has stood the test of time...it can never be defeated."
Modi's entry on to the stage at Shivaji Park was dramatic. He rose on a lotus as hundreds of saffron balloons took to the sky lit up by colourful crackers.
Taking on secularists, the Gujarat chief minister said: "These are the people who want to stop the growth of India. We must fight these forces. This fight was on even when the BJP was not born and nor was the RSS. But we are fortunate...we are in a position to defend Hindutva against these people. Those who are against Hindutva are against India."
Calling Sonia Gandhi 'Italy ki beti,' he said: "First she said Hindutva has endangered the unity and integrity of the country; then she said Hindutva is anti-Dalit; then she said Hindutva is against women and now she says Hindutva is against development. But let me remind everyone that in our country we still worship Valmiki. We still worship goddesses Sita, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Radha. So who says we are against women?"
Turning to the Godhra incident, Modi said: "Yesterday, I was in New Delhi addressing a press conference. It was supposed to be about Gujarat and the development projects we have undertaken. But journalists kept asking me what I was doing to improve the image of Gujarat post-Godhra? I told them the people of Gujarat had already replied that question."
Taking pot-shots at Rashtriya Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad Yadav and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chaggan Bhujbal, Modi said: "They tell me they will arrest me as soon as enter their states. Is this how a democracy functions?
Commenting on intellectual property rights and the World Trade Organisation, Modi said: "I met one of the WTO representatives in the US when I was there. I told him that we gave 'zero' to the world but never claimed intellectual property rights. Karan was born by genetic engineering and Lord Ganesha was a marvel of plastic surgery, but we never sought any intellectual property rights. Hindutva believes in the free flow of knowledge. So when people say that Hindutva is against progress, they all are wrong."
The rally was seen by many experts as BJP's attempt to step out of the shadow of its political partner Shiv Sena. None of the Sena leaders were invited to the rally.
Former deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde, however, tried to play down the rift. "Some people are trying to create a rift between the BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. But let me remind these people that if the BJP benefits in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena will also benefit as they are our natural ally in the state."
More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts