Praises Vajpayee for his concern for Adivasis

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday said it was the Congress which had ruled the country for the longest time and consequently tasted poison the most.

Reacting to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's charges of poison politics at an election rally in a tribal-dominated Banswara, about 500 km from here, Mr. Modi said: “Madam said BJP leaders are poisonous...they spread poison...why does she think of poison everytime she comes to Rajasthan? ...some time ago when she had come to Jaipur, her shehzada said in a speech that mummy said power is poison... brothers and sisters...who has stayed in power the longest?”

At an election meeting in Kota on Saturday, Ms. Gandhi had attacked the BJP for being a party of “poisonous people.” She was reacting to the BJP's charge that drugs being distributed under the State's flagship free medicines scheme were “poison.”

“Madam...your party digested power for sixty years...there is so much poison of power in your party's stomach...therefore no party but Congress has the potential to spread poison,” Mr. Modi said.

Mr. Modi specifically touched upon issues of tribal history and pride keeping in mind his target audience.

“How can we forget guru govind? ...Mangarh? ...And some people say that only one family secured the country's independence...they spent more time in their palaces than in prisons,” he said.

Guru Govind was a legendary Bhil leader and reformer and Mangarh is the site where over 1500 Bhils were shot dead by British-led forces in 1913.

Mr. Modi praised the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his concern for tribals.

“Adivasis have been existing since the time of Ramchandra ji...when the country became independent...were there Adivasis or not? You know there were. But the Congress did not even know...what should have been done the second day after independence...the Congress did not do...Atalji did...for the first time, he set up a separate Ministry for Adivasis,” he said.

Attacking Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, he said: “Nowadays Shehzada talks about the poor...gets inside their houses...not alone but with his chosen mediapersons... and has good photos clicked... this photo-session happens twice or thrice a year...but there is a huge slum right near his bungalow in Delhi.”