Comparing Gujarat with Maharashtra, he says the BJP stands for the politics of development

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday accused the Congress of ruining the country through divisive “vote-bank politics.”

Addressing a massive rally here, Mr. Modi alleged that the Congress claimed to work for Muslims but in reality did little. “The Congress had promised a major scheme for Muslims in 90 districts. But when questions were raised about this in Parliament, it was revealed that the party had not even spent one rupee on it,” he said.

Mr. Modi accused the Congress of blocking his rallies from cable networks in Congress-ruled States. “Whether or not you block him on TV, Modi has made a place for himself in people’s hearts,” he claimed.

The Gujarat Chief Minister emphasised that the BJP stood for the politics of development, constantly comparing the progress made by his State with Maharashtra. He said that when Gujarat separated from Maharashtra, it had virtually nothing. “We had no water or natural resources. Now Gujarat has reached new heights of development.”

Hitting out at Maharashtra for its multi-crore irrigation scam, he said: “Look at how many farmers are committing suicide in this State. If the BJP was in power this would never have happened.”

Praise for Chouhan

Mr. Modi praised the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh headed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan, considered to be his political rival. “If I talk about Gujarat, people get a stomach ache. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has also managed to lift the State out of its BIMARU status,” he said.

Mr. Modi accused the UPA government of blocking power generation from the Sardar Sarovar dam by refusing to allow the Gujarat government to place a gate to dam its water. “If the gate is placed, Maharashtra can get Rs. 400 crores worth of free power per annum but the UPA has no time to clear this,” he said.

He demanded that the Centre act firmly to bring back “black money stashed away in foreign banks.”

In a statement that could upset the Shiv Sena, which prided itself on the turnout at its founder Bal Thackeray’s rallies, Mr. Modi said: “In the history of Mumbai, such a large crowd of people has perhaps never been seen.”

Police estimate several lakh turned up for the party’s Mahagarjana rally.

At the rally, the State unit of the party presented Mr. Modi with Rs. 25 crores for the party’s election fund, raised through public contributions.

More In: National | News