"Congress vice-president has undermined the authority of the Prime Minister"

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, addressing his first public rally here on Sunday, ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections, urged people to bring the “dream team” of the BJP to power in the State and national elections and reject the “dirty team” of the UPA that was “deeply entrenched” in corruption.

Without naming Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Modi accused him of undermining the authority of the Prime Minister and asked the people to decide if the country would be run based on the Constitution or on the whims of the “prince.”

“The pride of the Prime Minister has been brought down by his own party. The Congress vice-president has committed the sin of disrespecting the Prime Minister,” said Mr. Modi, referring to the remarks over the ordinance on convicted politicians.

The Delhi BJP had made huge arrangements for the rally, expecting a turnout of over five lakh people, with audiences brought to the venue. However, Nilesh Shukla, Gujarat’s deputy director of information, in an email to journalists, said the turnout was just over a lakh. Interestingly, it was not Mr. Modi’s frontal attacks on the UPA that got the maximum cheers but his jibes at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his attacks on Pakistan.

Only leaders from the Delhi unit of the BJP shared the dais with him while other senior party functionaries, including national president Rajnath Singh, were conspicuously absent.

Mr. Modi lamented that Dr. Singh, in his recent talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, had projected India as a “poor country” and likened this to filmmakers selling India’s poverty abroad to get awards. “Why did he not project India as a nation with 65 per cent of the people below 35 years of age?”

“This country has apprehensions whether he will able to effectively bring up concerns over cross-border terrorism and other issues during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” said Mr. Modi.

Several times in Mr. Modi’s speech that lasted nearly 65 minutes, the crowd interrupted him at the wrong moments and started chanting his name. Halfway through his speech, people were seen streaming out of the venue.

Mr. Modi also touched upon his “humble” beginning as a “son of a poor family” and thanked the people for allowing him to reach this position.

“I was never a ruler, nor am I today. I am only your servant. Earlier also I was your servant. I will remain your servant in the future also,” he said.

“I assure you neither Narendra Modi nor the BJP will ever break your trust and let you down. We will never allow your dreams to be shattered. We will live for your dreams.”

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