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India's defence suffered during Antony's stewardship: Modi

April 08, 2014 14:06 IST

Launching a fresh attack on Defence Minister A K Antony, Narendra Modi on Tuesday charged that the country's defence had suffered seriously during his stewardship and said he owed an explanation to the people for this.

He also raked up the Italian marines issue and beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistan army to attack the defence minister. Referring to the resignation of Naval chief Admiral D K Joshi following a spate of accidents of naval submarines and naval ships, Modi said at an election rally in kasaragod in Kerala, that the "Indian defence forces have not acquired the best of equipment during this period" and Antony owed an explanation to the people for this.

"How will India's vast maritime coast line be protected? Who is responsible for this? he asked while addressing the meeting for his party candidate K Surendran in Kerala's northern-most district.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani is also in Kerala to address an election meeting in the state capital. Apparently referring to his speech in Jammu when he described Antony as a 'Pakistani agent' and 'enemy of the people", Modi said "Our soldiers were beheaded and killed by the Pakistani army. Our defence minister stated in Parliament that terrorists in Pakistan army's uniform had come and killed the jawans. Antony's statement helped the Pakistan Army whileour soldiers were unhappy with the statement. Pakistan media had lavished praise on Antony", Modi said.

Raking up the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast by two Italian marines, once again Modi wanted to know from Antony and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in which prison the duo were lodged.

"I want to ask them in which jail the two Italians are lodged?” he asked. Modi had earlier alleged that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had helped the marines leave India. Chandy had described Modi's charge as baseless.

"We do not want a weak government, but a strong government for which you must ensure that over 300 lotus bloom in the country", Modi, who began his speech by wishing the people of Kerala on the occasion of 'Vishu' (new year), said.

In some states Congress would not get even a single seat. In several states, the party would not get even double digits. After the poll results, you will see that the Congress party's tally will not touch three digits, he said.

Maintaining hat atrocities against women were increasing in the country and in Kerala, he said of the first 10 states from where maximum atrocities were being reported, six are ruled by Congress governments. No BJP ruled state is among them. Kerala despite being a highly literate state, so many such incidents against the fairer sex was being reported, he said.

Hitting out at both Congress led United Democratic Front and the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Democratic Front, the Gujarat chief minister said both the Fronts are engaged in a "friendly match".

"The UDF comes to power for five years after which the LDF forms the government. Both the Fronts are silent on each others faults and omissions", he charged. Describing the Congress as a 'water melon', he said while the LDF takes out red flags, the Congress party is like a water melon -- green colour outside and red inside.

Kerala, which was a global hot spot for tourism, had "converted into a nursery of terrorism. The state had failed to capitalise on its potentials in medical tourism and Ayurveda. Youngsters are not getting employment opportunities in 'God's own country' and have to go to other countries in search of jobs. The greenery in the state is due to NRI remittances, he said.

Targeting Antony once again, he asked, "Why is the defence minister not lifting his little finger for the youth?” Empathising with the fishing community, he said satellite information and other latest technologies should be used to help them.

On the plight of aeracanut farmers, Modi said the Gujarat government had helped the farmers, while the Kerala government had failed to do so. Modi blamed the state and central governments for not helping the endosulfan affected people and farmers in Kasaragod. "Over 50,000 farmers have become old at a young age. Though packages have been announced, nothing has been implemented", he charged.

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