GANDHINAGAR: Appealing to the Gujarat electorate as "son" of the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday lashed out at the opposition Congress, saying that people of the state would not forgive those who are "insulting the son of Gujarat" who has never had a single blot on his political career.
Attacking the Congress, the Prime Minister said: "You (opposition) dare to come to Gujarat and say things against the son of Gujarat? Will any Gujarati forgive people who make charges against the son of Gujarat? No Gujarati will endure this insult. This is my mother and I am its son."
"You (people) have helped me grow as its son. You have helped shape me. You gave strength and nurtured the good in me, the people of Gujarat and Gujarat my motherland," he said at a public rally in Bhuj after his visit to the local deity.
Modi landed in Kutch in the morning and went to pay respects to local deity - Ma Ashapura - at her temple Mata no Madh. After prayers Modi informally interacted with women, children and shook hands with people gathered within the temple premises. A scene now familiar at events of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi during his recent Gujarat campaign tours.
This is Narendra Modi's first political visit to his home state, one on Monday and the other on Wednesday. All the previous visits were officially in the capacity of a Prime Minister to inaugurate various schemes and projects of public interest.
It is the first by any Prime Minister to the Mata no Madh temple and is symbolically important for BJP's fortunes in the constituency of Abdasa, a Congress bastion having almost one-fourth of its voters from the minority community.
The party feels the visit by Modi here could help it consolidate majority votes in its favour this time.
At Lallan College ground in Bhuj, Modi began his speech in the local Kutchi language, saying that the BJP does not believe in politics of visiting only during times of elections but in development. He said that when he first visited Kutch in 2002 it was all ruins and shambles due to the earthquake, and now after the development works there is no iota of the quake destruction.
Modi hit back at the Congress over the 'hugplomacy' jibe by Rahul Gandhi, saying, "When the Indian Army was standing eye-to-eye with Chinese at Doklam for 70 days, you were hugging the Ambassador of China. When the Indian soldier stood for the country, you were hugging the Chinese Ambassador. For whom? I am asking you a question," he said.
"This is Modi. He has been nurtured in this land of Sardar Patel...The people who have looted the country will have to give it back," he said, reminding his audience of the surgical strikes carried out last year by his government after the Uri attack
"I asked a Congressman to write down the names of all the Presidents of Congress. The people who do not know the names of Congress leaders, how will they develop our nation?" Modi asked.
He said the Congress cannot think beyond one family. "How many remember Kamaraj or Debharbhai (U.N. Dhebar), who were presidents of Congress nationally. Many in the party would not even know that Debharbhai was a Gujarati. The party that does not go beyond one family, what do you expect from them?" he added.
Modi expressed his confidence that the BJP in Gujarat will win 151 seats in the 182-member assembly.