Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who had so far limited his attacks on the ruling Congress, for the first time took potshots at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), suggesting that governance was not merely appearing on TV, but working on the ground.
As the AAP had become the new media darling, Modi said it was only his party that has promoted humble people like him - who sold tea in trains - to Manohar Parrikar who came from humble origins. “Look at Shivraj ji and Raman Singh ji. They all belong to ordinary families but have been working for the country, Modi added, almost suggesting that the AAP was merely a media creation.
“Look at me, I have never been able to get space on the TV and newspapers. But people of Gujarat reposed faith in me three times. This is what matters,” the BJP prime ministerial candidate said. Modi went a step ahead and accused those supporting the Congress, or helping cover up their corruption, of being culpable. Though, Modi did not name the AAP, it was clear that his reference was to the party that has taken support from the Congress to run the government in Delhi.
Modi also singled out former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on corruption. It was perhaps the first time Modi has chosen a minister for his stringent attack. His earlier attacks were limited to Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul.
Continuing his tirade against the Congress, the BJP’s hindutva icon said though Rajiv Gandhi promised dreams in the 21st century, nothing materialised. “The last 10 years have been worse. All the institutions have been weakened. People ask me what will I do if I was elected. We would strengthen institutions and decentralize.” People will get opportunity, and there will be accountability, he added.
Another significant element of his speech was the alleged Congress politics of appeasement on religious lines. Modi attacked Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for saying that State governments should not arrest Muslim youth.
Praising Goa’s common civil code where a common law applied to all religions, Modi said the BJP is for peaceful coexistence of all religions and against politics where secularism is used to divide the country.