Attacking the Congress and United Progressive Alliance on price rise at a massive BJP rally in Bengaluru, Narendra Modi tells the crowd that Congress is worried sick about the BJP’s growing popularity. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
Addressing a crowd of more than five lakh, Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi focused largely on issues related to price rise, the economy and how Congress has not been able to digest the BJP’s rise.
The Karnataka BJP is banking heavily on Modi to better their chances in the 2014 elections. The party has already planned several more rallies in the rural areas of the state. The BJP had fared badly in Karnataka during the assembly elections.
It was evident that the Karnataka BJP wanted to make Sunday’s rally all about Narendra Modi.
B S Yeddyurappa, the former chief minister of Karnataka, who quit the BJP, was sending feelers since the past couple of months that he would come back to the party. But a secret deal was struck between the BJP and Yeddyurappa. He was told to wait for Modi’s rally to get over. Had Yeddyurappa come to the venue the focus would have shifted from Modi.
Ananth Kumar, the Member of Parliament from Bengaluru also refused to speak at the event. Previously when Modi was in Bengaluru, Kumar was booed by the people. Modi had to intervene and pacify the crowd to let Kumar speak. This time around Ananth Kumar made it clear that it was a Modi show and hence he would not speak.
There was a lot of hype surrounding the Modi rally and from the sheer number of people who turned up for the rally, it was clear that Modi had lived up to the hype.
Modi began his speech in Kannada with a tribute to the founders of the city and the state. He paid tributes to Kempe Gowda, Basaveshwara and Kittur Rani Chennamma. He also congratulated scientist CNR Rao who would be awarded the Bharat Ratna.
“I was told never before in the history of Karnataka has there been such a large gathering. Bengaluru today looks like a saffron sea and I want to congratulate all the people of Karnataka for this extraordinary event,” Modi said.
“I want to commence by saying that India will only prosper if we follow in the footsteps of former prime minister’s Lal Bahadur Shastri and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Shastri raised the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ while Vajpayee said ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan and Jai Vigyan’. This is apt to say in the city of Bengaluru which has contributed so much to science. This is the IT capital of the country. I feel sad that since the United Progressive Alliance took over this industry has come down a great deal,” he said. “During the time of Vajpayee the IT growth was 40 per cent but today it has come down to a pathetic nine per cent,” Modi added.
“What exactly is the UPA doing? The rupee is in the ICU and no one knows when it will recover. Instead of focusing on more important things, they are too busy introducing the pink revolution in which cattle are butchered. Shockingly they are providing incentives for such programmes. Instead of introducing incentives for butchers they could have extended the same to the software engineers who would have taken the country to better heights. They changed the cow slaughter policy in Karnataka. In Delhi the Congress abolished POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) thus giving both terrorists and naxals a free run,” he said.
Modi said the BJP does not sit in ivory towers like the Congress. “They are indoor players while we play outdoors.”
“I can tell you why the Congress is so scared of us. Look at the crowd before me today. They realise our popularity is growing and they are worried sick. This is a democracy and each one has a right to his opinion. When one can openly say Modi should be put behind bars, why can’t someone say Modi should be made the prime minister? The Congress instead wants to take back the Bharat Ratna for such statements,” said Modi.
“Look at the case of Goldman Sachs. They conducted a survey in which they said with Modi the BJP has moved ahead. Due to this the markets are looking up. All they were saying is that India will improve. Look at the manner in which the Congress pounced on them.”
“The Congress even had a problem with opinion polls. They sought a ban on it. Let me ask them how long will they hide? It is time for you to go. The opinion of the country has been decided whether it appears on television or not,” said Modi.
Targeting social media was another issue Modi spoke about.
“The UPA tried to gag the social media. They even sent an advisory to television channels that telecast my speech on Independence Day. They wanted to know why the speech was telecast live when the PM was speaking. To the public it looked like an advisory, but in reality it was a threat,” he said.
“The youth must speak out as they are the face of democracy. For the UPA the youth is just a voter, but for us (BJP) the youth is power and their empowerment is our priority. The youth must raise their voices against the scams committed by the UPA. The UPA has shut down factories and messed up things with the coal scam. Forget losing coal they have lost files relating to it, too. Here I would say not just have the files been lost, but the government itself is lost and the UPA has taken the life out of India,” said Modi.
“The UPA ought to have focused on development and controlled price rise. Instead, each time it gets into trouble it deploys the Central Bureau of Investigation. This is not done in a democracy, he said.”
Modi also had two jokes to share to which the crowd erupted with laughter. He said that once the Congress went to meet with the onions. The onions told them you have taken the skin out by excluding us from the Essential Commodities Act. Now we will take the skin out of your government.
During the recent game at Wankhede (in Mumbai), everyone was placing a bet in the stadium, whether it would be Sachin or the onion which would score a 100 first.
During the rally the Karnataka BJP collected Rs 35 lakh through the sale of tickets at Rs 10 each. Modi was presented with a cheque for the amount. This they said was towards the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue of unity fund.