"Every time there is a crisis, Congress wears a burqa of secularism and hides itself"

On Sunday, the Pune wing of the BJP introduced Narendra Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate at a rally here.

Playing his part, the Gujarat Chief Minister lashed out at the Congress and called for a Congress-free country, stating India “needs actions, not mere acts.”

“Only when we create a Congress-mukta [free] Bharat can we think of solving our problems.” The Congress, he said, had not delivered on its promise, made 35 years ago, of a poverty-free country and the people were cheated.

Taking a dig at the Food Security Bill, Mr. Modi said when it became impossible for the Congress to fulfil the promise, the party took the easy way out. “They threw a piece of law instead of food in the plate. This country is tired of acts, it wants action.”

Targeting the Prime Minister, he said even an economist such as Manmohan Singh could not save the rupee from falling. “What is this ego? The Congress has never accepted it has failed,” he said. “Every time there is a crisis, Congress wears a burqa of secularism and hides. This has been going on for 50 years. It is pushing the country in the wrong direction,” he said adding the party must be uprooted from power.

Earlier in the day, addressing students at Fergusson College here, Mr Modi called for an education system which imbues in students “modernisation without westernisation.”

Criticising the Centre’s failure to bring about quality education, he said: “We need to choose between creating university buildings and building universities.” Stating that human building was essential for nation building, he endorsed the need for a larger share of national spending on education. Claiming that China spent 20 per cent of GDP on education, Mr. Modi said the government had failed to create world-class universities.

In his speech peppered with Marathi, the Gujarat Chief Minister said he had “crowd-sourced” the content through social media, and was giving voice to what thousands of youngsters had written to him. Indian universities, he said, needed to start linking research to policymaking, like their counterparts in the U.S.

Calling for rigorous training at all levels, Mr. Modi advocated separate training for army jawans in sports, dedicated efforts to make indigenous defence goods, full utilisation of the tourism sector and training teachers who can be “exported.”

“If the government had foresight, we would not have been here today. The country needs someone to hold the finger and show direction,” Mr. Modi told an applauding audience.

A question and answer session at the end of the speech was cancelled for lack of time, college authorities said.