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Modi tears into PM's I-Day speech; says India restless for change

Last updated on: August 15, 2013 13:17 IST

Modi tears into PM's I-Day speech; says India restless for change



Asserting that the nation is "restless" for a change, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, challenging him for a public debate on pressing issues while accusing him of taking a 'weak' stance on Pakistan.

Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party's poll campaign committee chief and virtually the party's face for the next Lok Sabha elections, lashed out at Singh in his Independence Day speech shortly after the Prime Minister had addressed the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort.

In his extempore speech, an aggressive Modi criticized Singh on a range of issues including India's response to Pakistan and China, corruption, state of country's economy and food security bill.

"Nation is restless for change," he said.

"You are ruling a big country, we are managing a small state. I challenge the prime minister for a debate on the issue of development and good governance between government sitting in Delhi and our government," Modi said in his speech during the state function on I-Day held at Lalan College ground in Bhuj.

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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi slammed PM Manmohan Singh's I-Day speech on Thursday
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters


'Prime minister has failed to talk tough'

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Modi compared the speech of President Pranab Mukherjee delivered on the eve of Independence Day with that delivered by the Prime Minister today and criticised the latter for not being tough in his speech on Pakistan.

"The President has expressed his concern on the issue of killing of five of our soldiers. I had expected Prime Minister will raise the same concerns, but he has failed to talk tough," Modi said.

Mukherjee had on Wednesday warned Pakistan that "patience has limits" and all "necessary steps" will be taken to ensure internal security and protect territorial integrity.

Describing the Prime Minister's speech as a "big disappointment, Modi said it was lacklustre and failed to give any inspiration.

"I am wondering that despite your name being included among those people who has unfurled the tricolour on the maximum occasions, you are saying the same things which were said by Pandit Nehru in his first address to our nation.

Modi said the same problems and concerns are highlighted by Singh today were mentioned by Nehru in his first speech.

"The question arises what did you do for the past 60 years. If the situation has not changed a bit...then what have you done," he asked.

"Mr Prime Minister, you have referred to former Prime Minister Narsimha Rao while talking about the prevailing economic condition of the country. But I want to ask you that who is responsible for the way our Rupee is getting devalued, the way it is heading towards crisis," Modi said lambasting PM for the current economic situation.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing the nation on the occasion of 67th Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, in Delhi.
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'PM should have boosted the morale of army'

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Assailing the Centre for not taking remedial steps to correct the economic "mess", he said the least Singh could have done was to have told the nation how he will strengthen the rupee and the steps being taken to revive the economy.

"Instead you blamed it on global recession and said India cannot be left untouched by global recession," he said.

"The Indian soldiers were killed and some morale boosting talk should have been delivered. I don't believe Lal Quila (Red Fort) is the right podium to challenge Pakistan, and nor we should waste time in that, but it was an ideal platform to boost the morale of our army personnel," Modi said.

"This is my feeling.. he (PM) should have boosted the morale of our armymen," he said.

"On one hand Rashtrapatiji is saying that there should be limit to our patience, but Rashtrapatiji what is the limit for this patience, what is the border line for it, it has to be decided by the government at Centre," Modi said.

"What is the reason that we don't know.. what is our limit, for how long we are going to keep tolerating, it should be defined. And it is not only the question of Pakistan, today nation's security is under threat," he said.

"What China has done? In a free independent India today China comes and puts obstacles on our borders..It establishes itself on our territory...," he alleged.

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Image: BSF soldiers patrol over a footbridge built over a stream near the Line of Control at Sabjiyan sector of Poonch district.
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

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'PM didn't respect President's concerns over corruption'

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Referring the concerns raised by the President on corruption, Modi said, "President of India has expressed his deep concern over corruption, he had expressed his pain over it yesterday in his speech. It would have been better if something was spoken on corruption from the Red Fort as well."

"Priministerji, it is your first right to respect the feelings and concerns of Rashtrapatiji, but this did not happen today," he said.

"Why can't we launch a war against corruption, and brother and sisters from where the genesis of this corruption arises, doesn't the country needs an answer to it," Modi asked.

"Will the countrymen not seek a reply on it? I don't want to talk in political language, but I want to say that corruption is a core issue before the nation..its our country's pain, and agony," he said.

"Nepotism used to be the core of corruption in olden days TV serials... with passage of time it has changed, a new TV serial of Mama & Bhanja came in corruption and now its moving towards a serial of Saas, Bahu and Damaad," he said.

"Our country is getting destroyed by corruption and those ruling the country, their families are neck deep into it (corruption). Until the Supreme Court raps them, they continue to remain mum and continue managing it," Modi alleged apparently targeting the Gandhi family.

"Therefore, brother and sisters, Rashtrapatiji's speech calls for introspection from all of us, and this concern should be from the top," he said.

President Mukherjee had yesterday said, "Corruption has become a major challenge. The precious resources of the nation are being wasted through indolence and indifference. It is sapping the dynamism of our society. We need to correct this regression."

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Image: President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the nation on the eve of Independence Day
Photographs: Courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan

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'PM spoke about only one family and forgot the others'

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Modi also raised issues of disruption of Parliament by the ruling party in his almost an hour long speech.

"If the Opposition party tries to raise its voice it is understood in a democracy, but the concern is that for the first time in the country the ruling party is not letting the Lok Sabha function and is putting obstacles in its functioning," Modi said.

"They have made it an 'Akhada', and if its done by the party in power then the crisis deepens, and that is why Rashtrapatiji your concern regarding functioning of Parliament is genuine," Modi said.

"We should try our level best to maintain the pride of Parliament, the temple of democracy," he said in response to President's concern about disruptions in Parliament.

Modi also attacked the Prime Minister for remembering only one family in his speech and forgetting all other great Indian leaders.

"Prime Ministerji, it is a matter of great disappointment that from Red Fort you speak about one family only. Had it not been better that today you should have remembered Sardar Vallabhai Patel from Lal Quila, the man who unified India, had it not been good that a good message of unifying the country would have gone," Modi said.

"Prime Ministerji, Lal Bahadur Shashtriji the Prime Minister from your own party, had is not been better that while you were mentioning about Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, Indiraji, and about Rajivji, then you had mentioned about Lal Bahadur Shashtriji too.. he too was the PM of our country and had given the slogan of Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan," Modi said.

"He gave the slogan of 'Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan' and had inspired the farmers of India, and the country which even after independence was importing grain to feed people, then he was the man who had inspired the farmers, you should have taken the name of Shastriji as well," Modi said.

"No politics or dynastic politics should have come in your way...But, why did you do so..I can understand that you may not remember Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji, I understand your constraints, but why couldn't you remember Lal Bahadur Shashtri, I can't digest the fact," he said.

"Sardar Patel, who had pledged his entire life in the service of Congress, you don't remember him, then we feel hurt at heart," Modi further said.

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Image: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

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'This government serving acid to poor people's food plate'


Referring to the proposed Food Security Bill and his letter to the Prime Minister on the issue, Modi said, "It would have been better if Prime Minister had explained this to the country."

"I have written a letter to Prime Minister and suggested that there were many faults in the Food Security Bill which needs to be rectified. We have not opposed the Bill," he said.

"We are not opposed to the food being served in the plates of poor. It is your responsibility to rectify the faults in this Bill, but you (PM) are not even ready to hear us," he said.

"Instead of serving food in poor people's plate this government is sprinkling salt, serving acid to poor people's food plate," he alleged.

"Food Security Bill fails to increase the number of people who will benefit, it fails to increase quantity of food, it fails to cut the price of food...and still you are claiming that it is good for the people?" he said.

"I am worried the way this bill ignores the core of our federal structure it may stuck in some legal battle and poor people again will be deprived of food security," he claimed.

"We want this food security bill to be a good bill and for that I have suggested Prime Minister to convene a meeting of all Chief Ministers. If you had concerns for poor you would have called the meeting and discussed the faults in food security bill," he further added.


Photographs: Utpal Baruah/Reuters
Tags: Bill , Modi

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