'I salute the sacrifice of our jawans'
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was on Friday named the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 national elections, addressed a massive rally in Rewari, Haryana on Sunday afternoon, his first after he named the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
Narendra Modi began his address to ex-servicemen at the with a "Bahrat mata ki jai" chant. He thanked ex-army chief V K Singh for attending the rally.
"Never before in my life have I stood before so many soldiers. I salute the sacrifice of the jawans. To die for the country, to desire martyrdom is no less pious that rishis of India,” he said. “India has been starved for good news for a decade. We have been getting news of defeat and disappointment. Today, I congratulate the scientists who have successfully test-fired the Agni-V ballistic missile.”
At the rally Modi said that as a child he dreamed of serving the armed forces and he went on to narrate a small anecdote from his childhood days. “I was in Std VI. I belonged to a poor family and had not even seen Rs 2. So when I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for recruitment of the Jamagar Sainik School, I saved Rs 2 and got the prospectus,” he recalled. “I asked my father for money to travel to the sainik school, but my father said we did not have the means; my dreams remained unfulfilled.”
“And this is the same school in Jamnagar where Haryana Chief Minister Hoodaji went. Unhone Gujarat ka namak bahut khaya hain,” Modi laughed.
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Image: Narendra Modi addresses crowds gathered at Rewari, Haryana
Photographs: Courtesy: narendramodi.in
'The call of change is coming from this rally ground'
The Gujarat CM then went on to speak about his elevation in the BJP. "It is God's wish that I stand before you as the PM's candidate. I feel happier being the BJP's PM nominee after coming to this rally," said Modi.
"This must be a divine signal. This rally was planned months earlier. How was I to know on September 13 such a huge announcement would take place?"
"I attended a rally in Rewari with Atalji, but today's scenario is different. It cannot be captured on any camera," he said. "The call of change is coming from this rally ground in Haryana."
"There isn't a family in Haryana that hasn't been touched by Swami Dayanand Saraswati and his Arya Samaj movement. During the emergency, Morarji Desai was interned in Haryana and that is a connection Haryana has with Gujarat. Sri Krishna was from Dwaraka in Gujarat but he is connected to Haryana through Kurukshetra where he delivered the sermon of Bhagwad Gita," Modi said.
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Image: A Modi supporter at the rally in Rewari, haryana
Photographs: Courtesy: Jitender Godara/Twitter
'Problem is not at our borders, the problem is in New Delhi'
He attacked the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for its handling of security issues such as incursions by China and the killing of Indian jawans at the border and repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
At the rally Narendra Modi slammed the defence ministry and the government for the lack of respect to the armed forces. "When Gujarat was struck by the earthquake at Bhuj, the soldiers of the Indian Army arrived as saviours (devdoot). In Uttarakhand, our soldiers worked relentlessly to save people and some of them were killed in serving the pilgrims. I salute them and am proud of their sacrifices."
“When Gujarat was struck by the earthquake at Bhuj, the soldiers of the Indian Army arrived as saviours (devdoot). In Uttarakhand, our soldiers worked relentlessly to save people and some of them were killed in serving the pilgrims. I salute them and am proud of their sacrifices."
"When the country was commemorating such sacrifices, Pakistani soldiers were killing our soldiers along the border And unfortunately, our Defence Minister ( A K Antony) said in Parliament there were some people in Pakistani army uniforms. How painful that must be for the thousands of Indians? But the government in Delhi doesn't seem to care,” he added.
"It is painful to see ministers giving statements that people join armed forces to die," he said.
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Image: A huge cut out of Modi is seen in Rewari
'Terrorism, Maoism no difficulty if India has capable leadership'
"Whenever I get the opportunity to celebrate Diwali, I go and spend it with soldiers on the border. I have laid 700 km of pipeline to get drinking water to the last border outpost when I saw camels were deployed to fetch water. We have made a Shaheed Smarak (memorial) on the border for those who laid down their lives in the wars with Pakistan," he claimed.
"Pakistan doesn't let up in its antics, China is going eyeball to eyeball threatening to stop the flow of Brahmaputra. Are our neighbours troubling us because our army is weak? No. The problem is not at our borders, it is in Delhi."
"Till we have a capable government in Delhi which is nationalistic and committed to protecting every citizen, we can't guarantee security.”
Modi said that there is threat of internal security. "India has lost more jawans to bullets from terrorists than enemies from across the border. The nature of war has changed. Many more countries and people are affected by proxy war or terrorism as compared to those in the two world wars. There should be a global consensus on tackling terrorism, Maoism and that is no difficulty if India has capable leadership," he said.
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Image: 1.5 lakh strong audience attended the rally
'Pakistan should fight it's own evil not India'
Modi also sounded a warning to Pakistan. He urged Pakistan to fight its own evil and not India. "The Pakistan government should concentrate on the development of it's own country."
"Pakistan has a newly elected government, there was hope that they would try and improve relations. But the way our soldiers were killed shows their intentions are not good," he said.
"To Pakistan's rulers I say fight against poverty. Weapons and warfare have done you no good in 60 years. Try not allowing terrorists to use your territory for 10 years and you'll see your progress will be manifold," he added.
"Cross-border terrorism can't benefit India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. To Pakistan, I say you may have been born out of anti-India politics but that can't contribute to your progress," he said.
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Photographs: Courtesy: Narendra Modi/Facebook
'Politicians should learn secularism from Indian Army'
Modi said that the armed forces are the biggest symbol of secularism. "Vote-bank politics has eaten way at foundations of this country. If politicians have to learn secularism, look at the Indian Army. There is no greater example of Indian secularism. The army is an epitome in peaceful co-existence and harmony," he said. "The netas are trying to divide the army on the basis of religion."
He said that the youth were shying away from joining army as they are neglected. He demanded that the government of India bring out a 'white paper' on the status of the one-rank-one-pension. He said that if the Vajpayee government was elected in 2004 we would not face these circumstances.
The Gujarat CM also raked up graft issues facing the armed forces. "Most of the budget of the army goes towards importing cheap munitions. We are a country of 1.2 billion with the capability of launching its own missiles, but we import the smallest of things." "The people in Delhi don't know how its soldiers are but do know when the next tender is coming out. We should dream that we will have the capability of developing our defense industries and become exporters," he said.
Modi appealed to the armed forces to mobolise the youth to cast their votes. "Casting your vote is also a way of serving the nation. When we get the right to vote, many of us don't appreciate the gift of our constitution."Towards the end of his 65-minute speech, he invoked his dream of building a Sardar Patel memorial. “I want your help with another endeavour. Sardar Patel united this country but for many years his contribution has been forgotten. He was a farmer, he was the iron-man of India."
He said that the tallest statue is in the US -- the Statue of Liberty. "India needs to make a bigger statue -- the Statue of Unity." He appealed to the armed forces to contribute to the Iron Man memorial. "I want a piece of iron from every village - iron that is used to till the land in villages."
Modi ended his speech with chants of Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram.
Image: The stage at Rewari where Modi held his rally