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I can sell tea, but won't allow anyone to sell the nation: Modi

Last updated on: December 20, 2013 20:59 IST

I can sell tea, but won't allow anyone to sell the nation: Modi

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Sharat Pradhan in Varanasi

Gujarat Chief Minister and Bhartiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, who has apparently become quite adept in the art of striking chord with his audience, once again played magic with his words in Varanasi where an unprecedented crowd gathered not only to hear him out but also to display its response through a reverberating resonance.

Much like his four previous rallies in Uttar Pradesh, Modi made it a point to keep his focus on fundamental local issues. Therefore, he systematically kept bringing the issue of unabated pollution of Ganga river to his spotlight through which he sought to highlight the ills and failures of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

“If you wish to rid the nation of corruption, poverty and unemployment, then you need to make it Congress-free”, Modi told a delirious crowd, which kept on raising slogans in his praise without a pause.

And each time he sought a response to his pointed queries with respect to the future of the nation, pat came a thunderous nod.

He also made it a point to train his guns at the Congress whose leadership had sought to humiliate him and run him down for his background as a tea vendor. And reacting sharply to a Congressman’s remark about how a tea-vendor like Modi could aspire to become prime minister, he sought to ask the crowd, “Is it a crime to earn your livelihood by selling tea?”

And over a lakh hands went up in the air with a loud “No!” In the same vein he took a dig at the Congress by adding, “I am ready to sell tea but will not allow anyone to sell the nation,” to which the crowds once again responded with an echoing applause.

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Image: Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Varanasi ion Friday
Photographs: Courtesy: Narendra Modi's website

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'Time is ripe for overthrowing the Congress'

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Taking the opportunity to train his guns at the Gandhi family, he said, “Since this country has been ruled by one family for 45 years, sure enough they have to be held responsible for the plight of the poor in this country.” He observed, “Congressmen think about the poor only at the time of elections, otherwise they just believe in making mockery of the poor”.

Without taking Rahul Gandhi’s name but in an obvious reference to him, Modi remarked, “Unlike a member of the ruling family, I do not have to peep into the homes of the poor. I have experienced it first hand by growing up in a poverty-ridden home.”

Emphasising on the success story scripted by the BJP in four of the five states that went to poll earlier this month, Modi sought to impress upon the gathering, “The time is ripe for overthrowing the Congress at the national level just as it has been decimated in four of the five states where assembly elections were held recently.” He stressed, “Mind you if BJP had not been providing good governance, we would have been thrown out by the electorate.”

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Image: Huge turnout of BJP supporters at Narendra Modi's Varanasi rally
Photographs: Courtesy: Narendra Modi's website

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'If UP stops growing food, India will go hungry'

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While dwelling on the significance of Uttar Pradesh, he made it a point to add, “This state is important not simply because of the sheer high number of Lok Sabha seats it has; for me it is not just a political playground but a state with tremendous potential to contribute towards development of this nation.”

He said, “UP is a state with unlimited energy and if India has to develop, it cannot do so without development of UP. Remember, if UP stops growing food, India will go hungry. It has the capacity to grow enough food to feed the whole of Europe”.

Obviously knowing former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s connections with Varanasi where he had received most of his education, Modi observed, “It was Shastri’s popular slogan -- ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ -- that energised the farmers to give a big boost to the nation’s agricultural produce”.

While focusing on the Ganga, he flayed the Congress-led UPA as well as previous Congress regimes for swindling thousands of crores in the name of cleaning of the Ganga. “The nation wants to know from the prime minister what happened to all the money that was taken out of the state exchequer in the name of purification and cleaning of the Ganga river since the time of Rajiv Gandhi?”

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Image: Narendra Modi and BJP president Rajnath Singh at Varanasi
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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'Sadly, UP has not been able to get the right government'

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“The current UPA government which set up yet another high level panel for taking up the cause of the Ganga has ended up holding only three meetings over a span of five years, which clearly reflects the government’s apathy.”

He, however, lamented, “Sadly this state has not been able to get the right government that could understand and tap its potential. Otherwise UP would have been a different state today.”

Besides addressing issues related to the Ganga river, which lies close to the heart and soul of the people of Varanasi where the river is accorded its most holy status, Modi dwelt upon the plight of weavers of silk sarees. He also made it a point to tell the youth that he was truly concerned about the increasing unemployment, which could be tackled only through a fool proof recruitment process, free of the notorious role of sifarish (recommendation) or “flow of money”.

“The most effective way to ensure objective recruitments could be by scrapping interviews and letting computerised marking alone determine the fate of applicants”, he said, while citing an example of his home state where, according to him, “recruitments were made solely on the basis of marks obtained at the qualifying examination.”

Before arriving at the sprawling rally venue on the city outskirts, Modi visited Varanasi’s two major temples -- Sankat Mochan Mandir and the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir -- where he offered prayers amidst heavily beefed up security.

However, contrary to speculation by the media, he maintained his stance of refraining from even making a passing reference to the contentious issues relating to the Kashi Vishwanath temple often aired by forces of Hindutva of which BJP is a part. Significantly, the Kashi Vishwanath temple has been one of the key agendas of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, besides other Hindutva forces .

Top BJP leaders including party president Rajnath Singh and veteran Murli Manohar Jopshi were present on the dais alongwith Modi’s close aide Amit Shah and other leaders from the state.


Image: Narendra Modi offering prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi
Photographs: Courtesy: Narendra Modi's website

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