At a time when BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is extensively spreading his wings across the nation ahead of the general elections, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is also leaving no stone unturned to give tough competition to the Gujarat strongman. Crossing swords with Modi, the Gandhi scion too began his Lok Sabha elections campaign from Gujarat at a time when Modi addressed a mega gathering in Guwahati.
Narendra Modi, Saturday addressed a large Maha Jagaran Rally in Guwahati in Assam by far the largest political convention of sorts in the history of Assam. This was Modi’s first visit to Assam after he was declared the NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate. In an elaborate speech he shared his vision for the overall development of the Northeast and called for uprooting the Congress Party from the Centre. He also questioned the Prime Minister of India on what he did for the state of Assam considering he has represented the state for 23 years. “Has the PM done anything for the NE?” he asked. Taking a dig at the PM he remarked, “The Congress has broken all records of corruption.”
"Out of the eight northeast Indian states, Assam's condition is the worst, it is worst than Nagaland,” he said. "UPA is responsible for problems in Assam. If the PM wanted, he could have changed the face of Assam. Even an MP would have done more for Assam than the PM," he said.
While addressing the rally he said that he knows Assam as a land of tea and timber. And that he was concerned to see that a land as rich as Assam was witnessing poverty. "Why is Assam poor when it has natural resources in plenty. Who is responsible for it," he asked?
Urging the people of the Northeast to vote for the BJP, Modi said that the 8 states of the Northeast are like the Ashtalakshmi and the relation between goddess Lakshmi and the Lotus is very well known.
Narendra Modi expressed his pain at the lack of development in Assam. He pointed that Assam has great potential, as it is a land of tea and timber. He asked why is it that the same Assam, whose tea energizes the entire nation every morning is without energy and is facing power crisis. He further questioned why such a peace loving land was been full of violence and bloodshed? He said that the Congress leaders are always keen to talk about NREGA wherever they do but asked the people if they got any jobs in Assam. He said that according to information available with him only 10,018 people received employment under NREGA against the 12 lac who applied. Stating the plight of unemployment he said that out every 1000 educated youth in Assam, 750 remain unemployed.
He also commented on the poor law and order situation in the state which is evident due to the kidnappings, killings, extortion and bombs. “Assam has the Brahmaputra but Guwahati does not have water to drink,” avowed Modi. Referring to the Assam Chief Minister, he stated, “Naam Tarun hone se soch Tarun nahi ho jati hein.”
On the Prime Minister’s lack of concern for the state that has elected him for 23 years Modi said, “The Prime Minister of the nation is elected from Assam and that too for 23 years. You made such a big investment but what did you get? Even if our small Karyakarta was in the Rajya Sabha for 23 years he or she would have made efforts for Assam’s development.”
Modi accused the Congress leaders of considering the nation as their private property and this was seen in the manner in which the Congress decided to go ahead on the land swap deal without consulting the people of Assam.
He further assured the people that the BJP government at the Centre would bring back every penny of black money and spend the money for the purpose of development. He also spoke out against the illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and called for proper verification processes to ascertain who came from Bangladesh.
At the start of his speech Modi paid tributes to all those who lost their lives in the creation of Assam. He paid tributes to Gopinath Bordoloi and said that so immersed was the Congress in the service of one family that they forgot the contribution of others in the freedom struggle. He also took on the Congress leaders who are attacking the Gujarat government’s efforts to make a Statue of Unity, saying that Sardar Patel is not a leader of a party but the leader of an entire nation.
While Modi busied campaigning in the Northeast, Rahul delivered his speech from Modi’s fort and led a rally in Bardoli, associated with Sardar Patel which marked the beginning of Congress campaigns for the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress vice-president took to task the ruling party of Gujarat when he alleged that the party was ignoring the corruption taking place in Gujarat.
He said that BJP leaders were targeting other states of India and talking about corruption but ignoring the corrupt practices taking place in Gujarat. Gandhi said that for the last 9 years, the introduction of Lokayukta was being stalled in Gujarat.
“They talk of corruption, BJP people move around India and talk of corruption everywhere. But they do not see corruption in Gujarat,” he said.
He said that though BJP claims to be against corrupt practices, but the party was not cooperating with the government in passing the six anti-corruption bills which were pending in the Parliament.
“They talk of corruption and there are 6 pending Bills in Parliament. We brought Lokpal and RTI, but they have halted those 6 bills there. These Bills do not get support there. I have asked them 3-4 times that if you are truly against corruption then come and help us in passing the 6 Bills of Lokpal. Congress wants to pass it but why are you running away. But it’s all quiet then when we ask them to pass such bills,” he said during his speech.
Commenting on Narendra Modi's visit to Assam, CM Tarun Gogoi said, “Nothing will happen. Just like yesterday's election, it will be the same. There will be a huge hue and cry. People will agitate here, agitate there. But our votes are increasing. Narendra Modi will come, there will be Maha Jagaran, then there will be Jagaran in the papers, in the news, in the television channels but the people will ultimately vote only for us.”
It is to be noted that the Congress-BPF duo won all the three seats to the Rajya Sabha yesterday. Congress won two seats while the BPF won, one.