Says Congress and SP are playing vote-bank politics

In his first public rally in Uttar Pradesh after being anointed Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi on Saturday maintained a distance from the Ram temple issue and attacked the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. The troika of the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party, which supported the UPA government, and the Congress, was preventing progress, he alleged.

In a scathing attack on the Akhilesh Yadav government, the Gujarat Chief Minister said that in the last one year 5,000 innocent people had been killed in Uttar Pradesh. Security had been compromised owing to the vote-bank politics of the SP government. Efforts were on to release the terror accused.

At the public meeting at Buddha Park in the industrial metropolis of Kanpur, Mr. Modi said the BJP had made development as its agenda for the next general election. Whenever the Congress faced a crisis, it resorted to the politics of vote bank. “On the contrary, the BJP knew the mantra of nationalism where all the citizens shared equal opportunities.” The BJP knew only one religion, which was “nation first, India first,” one scripture, that was the Constitution, one “bhakti,” which was nationhood and one power, which was the collective strength of 125-crore Indians.

People had decided that change was certain in the next Lok Sabha election and a government of the BJP would be formed at the Centre. Time had come to bury the politics of vote bank and usher in politics of development for taking the country on the path of progress, he said.

Even as the Chief Minister singled out the Congress for scathing attack in his 50-minute speech, he took a swipe at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while referring to the statement of the former Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh. Citing the statement that if he (Mr. Parakh) is the accused then the Prime Minister should be the number 1 accused (in the coal scam), Mr. Modi said it was for the first time such a statement had been made against a prime minister.

Again, referring to the government’s reported statement given to the Supreme Court that coal files had been lost, he said “the fact of the matter is that the government has been lost.”

Takes a dig at Jaiswal

Taking a dig at Coal Minister and local MP, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, albeit without naming him, he said, “the pollution in Kanpur was on account of the coal ash generated in Delhi.”

Mr. Modi criticised Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, whom he called the “shehzaada,” for reportedly stating that poverty is a state of mind. “Those born with a silver spoon know nothing about poverty and deprivation,” he said. The Congress was unconcerned about the welfare of the poor. The Food Security Bill was akin to bhooka rakhne waala qanoon (law to keep people hungry).

The rally was also addressed by BJP president Rajnath Singh and the former Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh. It was after a fairly long time that Mr. Rajnath Singh and Mr. Kalyan Singh were seen together on a common platform.