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Rediff.com  » News » Mumbai on Modi: 'Dekho, dekho bharat kaa sher aaya'

Mumbai on Modi: 'Dekho, dekho bharat kaa sher aaya'

Last updated on: May 26, 2012 03:30 IST

Mumbai on Modi: 'Dekho, dekho bharat kaa sher aaya'

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Prasanna D Zore in Mumbai

India's former deputy prime minister and loh purush Lal Krishna Advani was hardly missed as the gathering latched on to every rhetoric that came from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi, if the crowd's loud and spontaneous cheering and chants that accompanied his entry were to be the barometer of his popularity this evening, has comfortably filled the void.

Interestingly, Modi and BJP national president Nitin Gadkari entered the ground together in a show of unity, which until Friday morning, lay in tatters as BJP's top leadership grappled with the resignation of Gadkari-protege and Modi's bete noire Sanjay Joshi to appease Modi.

"Dekho, dekho kaun aaya, Bharat ka sher aaya (Attention, India's tiger is here)," the crowd chanted in Modi's praise in a clear signal to Gadkari as to who the crowd thinks the real power centre in the BJP now is.

Nobody, it seems, is indispensable in politics and the BJP cadre has found their new loh purush (iron man) in the Gujarat chief minister. 

If Advani was the darling of the masses -- and as popular as Modi is today -- since 1989 when he successfully galvanised (some would say polarised) the masses in support of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, Narendra Modi has emerged the new messiah of the party workers who are now convinced that Modi has all the moral high ground to become India's next prime minister and deliver goods that will meet their aspirations.

He, in fact, began his speech in Marathi... receiving a thunderous applause from the crowd.

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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addressing the public rally in Mumbai
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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'We have come to hear what India's future PM'

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"We have come to hear what India's future PM has to say about India's poor economic show and steady rise of terrorism," said a highly emotional Parth Desai. Parth 28, had come from Kalyan, some 40 km from the city, to see and listen to Modi's speech.

And, when Modi spoke, Parth and all those who share similar admiration for him, were not disappointed.

"Dilli ki sarkar, Nirmal Baba ka darbar," Modi said in his trademark style: hands raised in anger, eyes fixated on an audience that is so completely spellbound by his charm. The obvious reference was to a godman who is in the midst of a raging controversy involving fraud and cheating.

"Dekho, dekho kaun aaya, Bharat ka sher aaya," the crowd would sing every time he took on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and all those humongous scandals that people have come to identify with the three year rule of UPA II.

Speaking about the sudden slide of the Indian rupee against the US dollar, he said he is sensing a "sinister conspiracy" in rupee's free fall, pinning the blame on the inefficient administration and leadership of Manmohan Singh.

"Everything was okay with the rupee till November (2011). What went so wrong after that?" he said, expecting people to use their imagination and find out the reason behind rupee's fall.

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Image: The crowd cheering Modi speech
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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'Congress should be ashamed of itself'

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Modi said that India is once again facing at the pre-1991 economic situation when the country came very close to being bankrupt. Modi further said that under Manmohan Singh the country has made no headway in dealing with the problem of terrorism, naxalism, inflation and corruption.  

Criticising the government for its insensitive handling of the formation of National Counter Terrorism Centre, Modi said 'the Delhi sultanate wants to destroy India's federal character'.

Modi also launched into Manmohan Singh for blaming his allies for his inefficiency.

"The prime minister comes from Congress; the defence minister is also from the Congress. Then why couldn't these people procure the required arms for the Indian Army," Modi thundered raising his voice to a higher pitch.

Expressing his resentment at the way the Congress-led UPA treated Army chief V K Singh over the issue of his letter to the prime minister that was subsequently leaked, Modi said, "The Congress should be ashamed of itself for bringing this rift with the army in the public domain. I just can't believe that the Congress could cast aspersions on the army chief." 

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Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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Crowds vanished when Modi finished talking

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Congratulating BJP-ruled states, including his own and that of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, for growing at more than 10 per cent Modi said only BJP can offer a workable development agenda to India and lift its teeming poor.

While the gathered audience did applaud the attacks on the Congress leaders by various BJP leaders the applause, without doubt, was thunderous when Narendra Modi took on the failures of the Manmohan Singh's government.

Modi's importance to BJP then lay not only in arousing the masses but also to glue them together and no other leader this evening was as successful as the Gujarat chief minister. Proof?

In an embarrassment to the organisers more than one-fifths of the crowd dissipated into thin air no sooner did Modi finish his speech and party president Gadkari rose to hold forth.

"The tiger has already spoken. There is nothing of interest for us any more," said Nirmala Vyas, a Dadar resident in her mid-40s as she dashed for the entrance from under the very eyes of the BJP leaders sitting on the dais.

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Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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Gadkari took over from where Modi left

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Knowing which way the wind is blowing Gadkari took this exodus in his stride and went ahead with his speech which was, to put it mildly, a rehash of what Modi had already spoken. 

In an unrelated development that could well indicate that the BJP is silently bracing itself for a mid-term election leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley threw a challenge at allies like Mamata Banerjee to "stop preaching and start attacking".

Earlier in the day, BJP spokesperson and general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad in response to a query from rediff.com said that they will be happy to work with Mamata Banerjee again.

He, however, did not clarify if the BJP has made any overtures to the mercurial Bengal chief minister who despite being an ally in UPA II has organised a huge protest against petrol price hike May 24.

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Image: Modi and Gadkari at the BJP meet
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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