AHMEDABAD: The rally venues were chosen carefully—Bharuch, Surendranagar and Rajkot—where the Congress is putting up a fight. Said a supporter in Surendranagar, “Modiji knows how to use words as bullets.’’
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor to be built by the state-run Japan International Cooperation Agency, he asserted, would open up a huge employment opportunity in Gujarat. For those who have been carping about “jobless growth’’ in Gujarat, this was his reply: “Imagine how much employment it will generate for the region, for Bharuch. I ask you where will the cement (infrastructure) come from, iron come from, labourers come from? Won’t that be from India? And who will be buying that? Japan.
Isn’t it a big deal?” He continued: “My problem with Congress politics is simple: They oppose us just for the sake of opposing. They oppose things like the bullet train only because they could not take this initiative forward and are envious someone else is.”
Linking the success of the project with the successful management of law and order, he added that “security is a pre-requisite for development”. Implying the Congress may not be able to provide that security.
In Bharuch and Kutch, where Muslims are in significant numbers, Modi recalled the past to remind the voters that during the Congress rule three decades ago, the area would be mostly under curfew because of violence. Hence, the voters would imperil development itself if it votes for change.
Not only security, the opposition party, Modi warned, was seeking to divide society on the basis of caste and religion—“building walls between brothers”.“One caste will fight with the other, one religion fight with another….They keep you busy in fighting with each other.
You may die but the Congress will eat ‘malai’ (cream),” he added. In contrast, with a renewed mandate, the Statue of Unity will be completed by 2019 under his watch and tourism would flourish in Bharuch. “Vikas is our only path. It is our only goal,” Modi added.
In Surendranagar, his focus shifted to dynastic politics, given the fact that Rahul Gandhi is about to fill his nomination papers for the GOP’s presidential polls on Monday, and nearly all senior Congress leaders had flown back to Delhi for the occasion. “There is a man named Shahzad (Poonawala). He put a question to the ‘Shehzaada’ (Rahul) and gets deleted out of the party—from all Whatsapp groups,” Modi said, calling attention to the Poonawala email to the Congress Vice-President.
“They’re getting publicly embarrassed by a Congress leader. They spoke so much about tolerance that they have released a ‘fatwa’ that Shahzad should be removed from every Whatsapp group that he is in. This is the same party that cries of intolerance,” he said.
Also seeking concurrence on the Narmada Sarovar project and how it has helped people of the state, Modi asked of the women: “My sisters, tell me the truth: Weren’t there major issues with water? Didn’t you have to walk kilometers heaving earthen pots to get water? Didn’t you have to dig deep borewells?” Providing the answer, he said, the “water scarcity in Surendranagar is now history! The BJP has got the Narmada waters here and helped farmers. A whole river was diverted.”