“Should the PM be in such a hurry for talks with Pakistan when attacks are going on?”

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the Congress of being divisive by nature and called upon the country’s youth to throw out the UPA government which “has divided the country” in several ways since independence.

Addressing a well-attended youth conference of the party here, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate also questioned the relevance of holding talks with Pakistan at a time when “terrorists from across the border” were attacking Indian security forces.

“What is the priority of the Prime Minister? Should he be in such a hurry to confabulate with Pakistan leaders?” he asked the youth.

Mr. Modi began his speech by requesting the gathering to observe a two-minute silence as a mark of respect to Army jawans killed in the terrorist attack in Jammu Kashmir on Thursday, and Indian citizens who were victims of the terrorist siege of a mall in Nairobi.

He concluded his speech by asking the crowd to chant ‘Vande Mataram’ with raised hands in honour of those killed.

Elaborating on his claim that the Congress was divisive, he said: “This mentality is inherent in the Congress DNA. When people of the country were fighting for unity and freedom, the Congress divided the country. When the Constitution was framed, it caused more division by according special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It divided the States further on the basis of language.”

Blaming the UPA government’s policies for the economic downfall, Mr. Modi said small industries were facing closure even while the Centre was trying to protect the interests of a few big industries. If the Congress were to rule the country for five more years, the economy and the rupee value would slide further and thousands of youths would be rendered jobless, he predicted.

Though a major part of his nearly 65-minute speech was in Hindi, Mr. Modi switched to English occasionally to drive home a point and even read out a few lines in Tamil eulogising Tamil Nadu and Tamilians.

Quoting from poet Ramalingam Pillai, “Tamizhan endroru inam undu; Thaniye avarkkoru gunam undu,” (There is a race called Tamils; they have a unique character), he proceeded to draw parallels between the Tamil and Gujarati communities. He said Tamil fishermen were being attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy while Gujarati fishermen by the Pakistan Navy. He blamed the “weak government at the Centre” for the situation and called upon people to dislodge it.

BJP chief Rajnath Singh accused the Congress-led government of creating new records in corruption and affirmed that the BJP was here to play the role of a watch dog. The BJP did not want to instil fear among people but infuse confidence, he stated.

“We will take all sections of society on the path of growth. We want to have a strong person as a Prime Minister who can fulfil the aspirations of people,” Mr. Singh said. He warned the Congress against causing trouble to Mr. Modi through the CBI.

Welcoming the victory of the Tamil National Alliance in the recent provincial elections in Sri Lanka, Mr. Singh pressed for devolution of powers in the island nation.

BJP State president Pon. Radhakrishnan and other leaders affirmed that the youth conclave would give a firm footing for the party in Tamil Nadu.