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Updated: April 7, 2013 02:54 IST

Rajnath skips protocol in honour of Modi

Darshan Desai
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BJP chief Rajnath Singh called Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi the most popular leader at the party's 'Sthapana Diwas' celebration in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Mr. Modi returned the compliment saying Mr. Singh had shown great magnanimity.
PTI
BJP chief Rajnath Singh called Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi the most popular leader at the party's 'Sthapana Diwas' celebration in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Mr. Modi returned the compliment saying Mr. Singh had shown great magnanimity.

Praises Modi for placing Gujarat on forefront of development

Call it a rare display of magnanimity or political expediency, Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh jumped the protocol to speak earlier than Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at the party’s 33rd foundation day celebrations here on Saturday and praised him for placing the State on the forefront of development following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi

Mr. Singh, who arrived here to a hero’s welcome with a serpentine queue of the BJP office-bearers of all hue garlanding him and gifting him a souvenir, went a step further ridiculing the Congress for calling Mr. Modi a “Yamraaj” and, significantly, said, “People of India will teach a lesson to those who call Modi a Yamraaj.”

Mr. Singh, who spoke immediately after the welcome speech by State BJP chief R.C. Faldu, said he decided to do so in the honour of “India’s most popular Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who hails from the State of India’s Iron Man Sardar Patel, the man who united the country.”

He acknowledged the fact that he was the national BJP president but he decided to speak ahead of Mr. Modi. Usually, the most important leader at a political function speaks the last.

“I am not praising him [Modi] because I am president of the BJP. The entire world accepts this reality that it is a model State of development. Even the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which you all know is headed by whom (Sonia Gandhi) in 2007-08 praised Gujarat’s development,” the BJP chief said.

Referring to Mr. Modi, Mr. Singh said, “He is incorruptible. I am not alone saying this and my remarks should not be taken wrongly, everybody says this.”

Bharat ka mastak inhone duniya mein uncha kiya hain (Modi has raised the head of India in the world).” Gujarat was the State of Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi, but the latter’s dreams had remained unfulfilled in the Congress regime of 54 years, the BJP chief pointed out.

However, he said, “Modi walked into the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and put Gujarat on the road of unprecedented development, irrespective of caste, creed and religion.”

Mr. Singh lashed out at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s recent apparent taunt at Modi at a recent function that India could not be ruled by someone who comes riding a horse to Delhi and said a BJP leader “would come sweating and toiling through the masses” to become Prime Minister. “The person who has sweated and who understands India will be the Prime Minister,” he said.

Mr. Modi profusely thanked Mr. Rajnath Singh for speaking first and showering praise on him. He said, “I want to tell the BJP president that he has shown great magnanimity, the heights that you have shown me today, the kind of respect you have shown; all this needs a very big heart.”

“But this respect is not just for me, but it rightfully belongs to every volunteer of the BJP who has toiled hard for the party. It is because of them that people know Narendra Modi, otherwise nobody knew me,” he added.

The Chief Minister also took a dig at Mr. Rahul Gandhi and wondered that he called India a beehive. “India is not a beehive, for us India is a mother and all people here are our brothers and sisters. This is a country of sages and saints.”

Harek Bharatiya ye sub cheezon ka chun-chun kar hisaab denge [Every Indian will give a befitting reply to everyone on this],” Mr. Modi said.

Issuing a veiled warning to the Congress, the Chief Minister said, “let the rulers in Delhi be warned that the party cannot be cowed down through repressive use of the CBI nor the use of Governors to harass BJP governments. We shall give a befitting reply.”

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