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Rediff.com  » News » 150 riots in UP in one year, not a single in Gujarat: Modi in Lucknow

150 riots in UP in one year, not a single in Gujarat: Modi in Lucknow

Last updated on: March 02, 2014 20:47 IST

150 riots in UP in a year, not a single in Gujarat in 10 yrs: Modi in Lucknow

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

At a massive rally attended by over 4.5 lakh people in Lucknow, Narendra Modi reached out to Muslims, slammed Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party for misleading the public under veil of secularism, reports Sharat Pradhan  

G
ujarat Chief Minister and Bhartiya Janata Party prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi on Sunday took everyone by surprise when he chose to focus substantially on how his model of governance had brought prosperity to Muslims in Gujarat, as also to showcase his concern for economic upliftment of the minority community.

He was addressing a massive rally at the Rama Bai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow. This was the eighth and last of his pre-election series of  ‘Vijay Shankhnaad’ rallies in the state. BJP leaders boasted of the rally’s success as they managed to see it nearly packed to its capacity of 4.5 lakh. Yet, it clearly did not match Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati’s rally at this very venue on January 15 last when crowds had spilled across on all roads around the ground.

Apparently, Modi got provoked by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s stern remarks against him at a parallel rally in Allahabad. No sooner than word reached Modi about how Mulayam had blasted him for his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the CM turned livid.

Besides training guns at Mulayam by pointing towards the failures of his son Akhilesh Yadav’s government on various law and order parameters, Modi took the opportunity to blow- by-blow highlight his concerns for the economic well being of Muslims in Gujarat. He also sought to contrast it with what he termed as “vote bank politics” being played by Mulayam and others.
Referring to Mulayam as “Netaji”, he sought to point out, “There have been as many as 150 incidents of communal rioting in Uttar Pradesh during the two-year rule of Akhilesh Yadav-led Samjwadi Party government, whereas Gujarat has not witnessed a single communal riot in 10 years.”

Lambasting Mulayam for using Muslims as a “vote bank and doing just nothing to rid them of poverty”, Modi said, “The kite industry in Gujarat was largely in the hands of poor Muslims and when I became CM, its turnover was barely between Rs 35-40 crore. But we infused life into the kite industry and today its business is touching Rs 500 crore, which has transformed the lives of thousands of Muslims engaged in it.”

He cited yet another example to buttress his claim that Muslims in Gujarat were experiencing far more prosperity than those in UP. “Every Muslim’s lifetime ambition is to go for Haj at least once. The central government has allocated a quota of only 4,800 persons for Gujarat, from where the applicants in a given year are around 38,000. As against that UP has a quota of 32,000, when its applicants are rarely more than 35,000, when UP has such a huge population,” he said.

“Sure enough, this indicates that there are fewer Muslims in UP who can afford a Haj in comparison to Muslims in Gujarat.”

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Image: BJP PM nominee waves to supporters as he addresses a rally in Lucknow
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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'For Mulayam and others, secularism is an election gimmick'

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Training his guns at Mulayam, who had flayed Modi for being a blot to the national spirit of secularism, the Gujarat chief minister retorted, “For people like Mulayam and some other political parties, secularism is more of an election gimmick; they only do lip service in the name of secularism.” He said, “For me, secularism means ‘India first’, while others like to use secularism only as a shield whenever questions are raised about their failure to tackle poverty or to promote development or to fight price rise or corruption.”

Sure enough, Modi was aware of the fairly large (30 per cent) Muslim population in Lucknow, where a section of the community was known to have been strong supporters of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who won several Lok Sabha elections from Lucknow.

Laying special emphasis on Lucknow’s cultural heritage he left no stone unturned to win over the electorate with his emotional utterances. “Lucknow is not like any other city; it is a city of ‘adab’ and ‘tehzeeb’ and I wish to appeal to the people not to allow anybody to damage this rich heritage.” Without naming the SP or Bahujan Samaj Party, he sought to blame the two parties for denting the culture of Lucknow.

He also made it a point to invoke former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who continues to enjoy a special place in the hearts of people -- cutting across caste and communal lines -- of Lucknow. “Atal Bihari Vajpayee was lucky to have been adopted by you,” he said.

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Image: A BJP supporter attends Modi's rally in Lucknow
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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'I'm going to sit in Delhi more as watchman than PM'

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While Modi evoked much applause from the audience, it became louder when he reminded them of his humble beginnings.

"I was born in a poor backward caste family and grew up as a tea-seller, but look at the high democratic values and greatness of my party which decided to anoint me as its prime ministerial candidate," he said evoking a thunderous excitement among the crowds.

Exuding confidence about fulfilling his dreams, he said, “I am an optimist. So let me assure you that the day is not far when we will be able to reduce this country’s poverty. The next ten years are going to be a decade for the well being of the poor and the deprived.”

In the same vein, he went on to add, “Let me assure you that I am going to sit in Delhi more as a watchman than PM and will not allow anyone to poach on the treasury of this country  -- be it someone using its ‘panja’ (Congress) or someone riding atop the elephant (BSP) or the bicycle (SP).”

At the end of his speech, Modi recited a long poem, reiterating his commitment to the nation’s security and integrity and to rid the nation of all ills.  

 


Image: BJP supporters wave flags as they listen to Modi's speech at the Lucknow rally
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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