LUCKNOW: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who after being elevated as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate had avoided any direct reference to Hindutva in his speeches at rallies in Uttar Pradesh, on Friday not only paid a visit to ancient temples in Varanasi but also addressed the rally in the district with a big picture of Lord Shiva along with BJP’s election symbol lotus in the backdrop. In response, BJP leaders exhorted people in the rally to raise slogan `har har Modi’. The slogan has been lifted from the prayer `har har Mahadev’ chanted in praise of Lord Shiva.
Modi played the religious card openly after being pushed out of page one of national dailies and the prime time slot on news channels following the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party. Dressed in saffron kurta, in his speech in Varanasi he spoke of bringing Ram Rajya (good governance) in the country and cleaning of river Ganga, which he described as mother for people and not just a river. Deftly mixing development and Hindutva, Modi said that people need a government which can work for development and bring Ram Rajya.
“Politicians say that winning in Uttar Pradesh is crucial for formation of government at the Centre. This, I believe, is insult of the people of UP. The importance of UP is not about formation of government. In fact, the country will develop only when UP is developed. So, my point is that we should not consider UP merely as an electoral field but as a crucial partner in development,” Modi said.
He blamed Nehru-Gandhi family of the Congress responsible for the poverty and misery in the country. “Congress party thinks about poor only during elections and forgets later after getting votes,” he added.
Modi said that the anti-poor mindset of the UPA leaders is reflected from their statement that a a tea vendor (Modi) cannot become prime minister of India. “I believe that if people give their blessings, not only tea vendor but a cobbler and a labourer can become prime minister,” he said. “Congress does not know what is poverty. I know because I have seen and experienced it,” he said. He said that Congress has dubbed BJP as thief. “Yes, I agree, BJP is a thief but it has stolen Congress’s sleep,” he added.
Modi raised the issue of poor conditions of weavers in Varanasi and gave example of how in Gujarat he took steps for the welfare of weavers and promoted textile industry. He said that unemployed youth of Varanasi are coming to Gujarat for earning livelihood. He blamed successive non-BJP governments in UP for lack of development in the state. He said that he brought transparency in government recruitment process in Gujarat, which eliminated all possibilities of corruption and nepotism in appointment. However, he said, in UP, a young man cannot get into government services without `sifarish’ (recommendation).
Modi said that BJP’s victory in recent assembly elections in four states shows that people are happy and satisfied with the governance of the BJP governments. He said that now people will have to work for Congress-mukt Bharat (free India from Congress).
He said the 2014 parliamentary polls will be fought by the people of India and every voter will fight. “The 2014 polls will not be fought between two parties, no individual will lead these polls. This election will be fought by the people of India and every voter will fight,” he said. “There has never been such an atmosphere before the elections… people are eager to pull down the Congress government,” Modi said.