Congress to show black flags at his rallies ‘until he comes clean on snooping’

The BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi lashed out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh at his rallies in Madhya Pradesh on Monday. He refuted the Prime Minister’s charge that the BJP had demeaned political debate.

At Chhatarpur, Mr. Modi rhetorically asked who wrecked the dignity of the Prime Minister’s Office and whose Cabinet had lost its respect. “A vice-president of the party you [Manmohan] are proud of calls your decision ‘nonsense nonsense nonsense’. He tears up the decision of a democratic government. The people you work for have humiliated you. When you were in America and the eyes of the world were upon you, you were slapped back home in India.”

Attacks Digvijaya

Without naming Congress leaders, Mr. Modi said “a motormouth [badbole] former CM of MP has now become a lie manufacturing factory.” He was referring to Mr. Digvijaya Singh.

“It has taken the BJP a decade to fill the potholes Congress created ... We have tried to make Khajuraho an international tourist destination but the government in Delhi wants to destroy MP tourism by not repairing national highways.” After a first visit, a foreign tourist would never want to come back,” Mr. Modi claimed.

‘The Delhi clique’

In an attempt to bolster his working class image and counter his detractors among the intelligentsia, Mr. Modi differentiated himself from the “Delhi elite.”

“A clique in Delhi is targeting us. I can’t be and do not want to be a member of that clique. I am from a village, not the elite. That is why my language hurts you.”

In Bhopal, Mr. Modi addressed a small gathering that filled less than half the Dussehra Maidan. The turnout, attributed by BJP sources to his late arrival, follows a trend of low crowds for national leaders this week. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s audience in Jabalpur on Sunday could not fill the Ravi Shankar Shukla Stadium.

Flanked by the former Chief Ministers Kailash Joshi and Sunderlal Patwa, Mr. Modi said he was confident of victory and had merely come “to earn punya [blessings] by washing his hands in the Ganges of victory.

“This [defeat of the Congress] is because of their mindset, their arrogance which has touched the seventh heaven. These people considered the country their personal patrimony and think that people will vote for them out of compulsion ... Their hours are spent in struggling for power.”

“Who ate coal files?”

On the Congress poll promise of 35 kg of free rations, Mr. Modi asked the crowd whether it would trust people who promised to lower prices in 100 days. “For Congress, youth are voters. For us, youth is power ... We need a government who empowers you. Youth need opportunities but industries have closed because of electricity shortage.”

He added: “There is darkness at one end and factories that can produce 20,000 MW closed on the other. There is policy paralysis. They [factories] are not getting coal, who ate this coal, who ate the coal files?”

Meanwhile, even as the Congress stepped up its attack on Mr. Modi and his former Home Minister in Gujarat Amit Shah, in the matter of alleged snooping on a woman architect, the BJP claimed there was collusion between the Central Bureau of Investigation and senior Gujarat police officer G.L. Singhal, whom it accused of leaking audio tapes to web portal Cobrapost.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza said the party had decided to show black flags at all of Mr. Modi’s rallies until till he came clean on the issue. “The matter is not only about a particular woman but about civil liberties and the right to privacy of women in general,” they said.

But BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress demand for a probe by a Supreme Court judge was flawed as neither the woman nor her father had lodged any complaint.

“On what authority is the Congress asking for a probe? Law and order is a State issue and the woman in question has not complained, her father has not complained. The Congress is only employing its dirty tricks department.”

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