Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi used the occasion of Independence Day to launch a full-tilt attack on the Prime Minister, accusing him of turning a blind eye to illegal immigration from Bangladesh, ignoring the recent violence in Mumbai and betraying promises made to the people.
Addressing the gathering after hoisting the national flag at Independence Day celebrations held at this small town in the Saurashtra region, Mr. Modi blamed the current unrest in Assam on unchecked migration from Bangladesh which, if unsolved, could lead to fresh violence at any time.
He also accused the Centre of adopting a “dual standard” on the burning issue and said that while the Prime Minister was critical of the violence in Assam, he was mum on the violence in Mumbai. “How can [he] remain silent on such a serious issue,” he asked.
“The infiltration [sic] of Bangladeshis in India is becoming an issue of concern,” he said, using a word normally reserved for armed intruders rather than economic migrants. “The Assam violence is just a small example of it but the issue is becoming a major problem for the nation,” he said. “The people in the country were keen to find a solution to the problem and it was for the Prime Minister to spell out a policy,” he said. “The country wants to know what are you thinking about [it]? Will the Bangladeshi infiltrators [sic] be allowed a sway over the country?” he asked.
Mr. Modi also questioned the credibility of the Prime Minister and the people’s patience to rely on his promises. “He has made innumerable promises to the people but never kept them. How can the people in the country rely on him and his government?” he asked.
Drawing parallels to Gujarat’s rapid development in the last decade compared to the slow growth of the country under the UPA dispensation, Mr. Modi said some four years back he had asked the Prime Minister at the National Development Council meeting to start a “skill development mission” for the youths to face the challenges being posed by China. “Dr. Singh did nothing, but we in Gujarat after enhancing the skills of the youth with special training provided jobs to 66,000,” he claimed. “How can India progress with such a slow growth rate and survive in this era of fierce competition world-over?” he asked.
Mr. Modi said as a common man, he was disappointed at the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. “How can [he] plead helplessness to check growing inflation or give excuses of “coalition compulsions” for his government’s failures?” But at the same time, he had a dig at Congressmen in Gujarat, who, he alleged, were opposing foreign investment and industries from abroad coming to the state. “It is your prime minister who is for a united voice to welcome FDI required for employment generation in the country,” he pointed out.
Mr. Modi also outlined some proposed measures of his government on the occasion. He said “Gutkha” would be totally banned from the state from September 11. he announced a Rs 1,000 per month increase in pension for freedom fighters, four lakh houses for below poverty line families in rural areas and 20,000 houses for the middle class in towns, a “zero slum policy” in major cities in the State, more hostel facilities for students from the weaker sections of society and a new policy to tackle the impending drought in the state.