The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, said at Vandalur, near here, that the Congress had failed to create jobs and its policies were pushing people out of jobs.

Addressing a meeting, he said the stark difference in the unemployment rate and growth achieved were pointers enough to show whose knowledge of economics was better. The Congress allowed regional parties to indulge in corruption, and some of the major beneficiaries were in Tamil Nadu. If voted to power, the BJP would empower the States, provide employment to youth and ensure growth.

Undermining of the federal structure, he said, is another aspect of the UPA regime, leading to conflicts frequently between the Centre and States. Raj Bhavans, he added, have been turned into party offices in many States, Mr. Modi said of the UPA government, adding that some Governors refused approving laws enacted by the legislatures.

Turnout

Referring to the huge turnout, Mr. Modi said if this was the sentiment in Tamil Nadu, then no one could stop the BJP from forming a government at the Centre.

He said while Tamil Nadu fishermen were languishing in Sri Lankan prisons, Gujarat fishermen were jailed in Pakistan. “These small countries are pressuring India because of weak governance at the Centre.

The senior BJP leader, N. Venkaiah Naidu, said people across the country were describing Mr. Modi as a decisive, dynamic and development-oriented leader. Holding the UPA responsible for corruption, price rise, poverty, unemployment and an academic crisis, he said neither the Congress nor the parties that supported it had the moral right to seek votes from the people.

In his address, BJP national executive committee member L. Ganesan wondered how a leader in Tamil Nadu was aspiring to become Prime Minister. “Even if they win 27 of the 40 seats, will that make the leader of a regional party the Prime Minister,” he asked.

The BJP State president, Pon. Radhakrishnan, said if the party were to be voted to power, the problems faced by fishermen would be solved and the State would emerge first on various fronts.

Representatives of six political parties, including the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, aligning with the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections spoke.

Sushanta Talukdar reports from Guwahati:

Addressing a rally at Khanapara near Guwahati earlier in the day, Mr. Modi said Manmohan Singh must explain to the nation why Assam’s misery continued though the Prime Minister represented the State in the Rajya Sabha for the past 23 years. Mr. Modi alleged that Assam was the least developed among the eight North-eastern States; it had the highest incidence of poverty in the country. The Congress had neither the policy nor the intent to develop the region blessed with natural resources.

Iboyama Laithambam reports from Imphal:

At a public meeting at Langjing Achouba in Imphal West in the morning, Mr. Modi took on both the Centre and the Congress-led Manipur government, blaming them for lack of development in the region and for rampant corruption.

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