Sunday, 5 October 2014

I will not utter a word against Shiv Sena as a mark of respect to Bal Thackeray, Prime Minister Modi says

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attacked the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra but said he would not utter a word against estranged ally Shiv Sena.

"Some newspapers have reported that the prime minister has criticized the Shiv Sena," Modi told an election rally.

"This is the first election in the absence of Balasaheb Thackeray. I have decided I will not say anything against the Shiv Sena. This is due to my respect for the great leader," he said

While speaking to supporters against the backdrop of the impending assembly polls in the state, the Prime Minister took potshots at NCP chief Sharad Pawar saying that, "Those who are saying things in the name of Shivaji Maharaj, I feel sad. What Sharad Rao said today ... I was pained."

He also went on to question the NCP leader's stint as agriculture minister and commented on the unfortunate deaths of farmers in the region. "We want to work for the farmers, for the villages and for Maharashtra. Here industry and jobs are also needed."

The Prime Minister continued his attack on Congress and said that the party has looted even the Kargil war widows. "We are not like the Congress. We don't run away."

Key highlights of the PM's rally

Gujarat was born in 1960. It was a part of Maharashtra before and we still believe Maharashtra is our elder brother

The government stalled Narmada project for years ... a Congress government in Delhi, which even Sharad was a part of

BJP is ready to take responsibility (for the development of Maharashtra.) Give BJP a complete majority

India is ready to move ahead. The nation won't stop. I tell people here — bid farewell to those who looted so much

PM's pitch to Mumbai

On Saturday, the PM urged Mumbaikars to elect BJP to office in Maharashtra with an absolute majority for steady and smooth development.

Elaborating on the theme of development, the PM, addressing a well-attended poll rally at the Mahalaxmi race course ground, said, "If you install a BJP government, I will be inspired to frame policies for the state's development as there will be better Centre-state ties."

"I make a public promise that I will work for Maharashtra's speedy development and take every section of people along with me," he said amidst chants of 'Modi, Modi'. The PM spoke in his trademark style, interacting with the audience, hurling a few questions at the crowd.

"However, I will be able to do nothing if you elect those who don't want to share the dais with me. They will slam the gates on me. The federal structure of the country is such that I will be helpless if you choose another government," he cautioned.


Modi slams NCP-Cong, ignores ex-ally Sena

Vote for BJP to allow me to work for Haryana: Modi

Modi didn't refer to the Shiv Sena even once, ignoring the 25-year-old Hindutva alliance which broke off recently. Observers say the PM tacitly referred to the Sena when he spoke of 'dada-giri' (coercion) in Mumbai and the need to free the city from the clutches of slumlords.

"Mumbai is India's nerve centre. If Mumbai suffers losses, India too suffers losses. We are poised for economic development ... Mumbai should be in the forefront in this mission. Mumbai will alter India's destiny," he said.

For the city, Modi promised rapid transport systems, 100 per cent FDI in railways, houses for slum dwellers and the Navi Mumbai airport "during our term".

"If Mumbai and Maharashtra do not progress, India does not progress," he said, adding that Maharashtra's development meant the country's development.

Stating that Maharashtra had come close to ruin because of the 15-year Congress-NCP rule, Modi said BJP was committed to give the state a clean, honest and result-oriented government.

The PM will campaign vigorously in Maharashtra in the wake of the split in the saffron alliance, said BJP watchers. In his 40-minute speech, which Modi began in Marathi, he repeatedly referred to Shivaji Maharaj, and paid tributes to Dr B R Ambedkar and Mahatma Phule. He reminded the gathering that the BJP was launched in the "sacred land" of Mumbai.

Citing the Congress-NCP's "misdeeds", Modi said Maharashtra has had to suffer the largest number of terrorist attacks in the last 15 years. After UP, Maharashtra has recorded the largest number of riots cases. "Maharashtra has lost its sheen, its prestige as the best-administered state. This corrupt, inefficient government has to go," he said.

"Amitabh Bachchan hosts the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' show on TV. However, the Maharashtra ministers ran a 'Kaun Banega Abjopati' (billionaire) show for all these years," the PM remarked, evoking laughter.

Pointing out that 65% of India's population was under the age of 35, Modi said the need of the hour was to frame policies and programmes for youths. "Young India wants to rise above caste, creed and communal politics. We are striving to create a new India... I have a dream. My dream is that by 2022, when India will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its independence, every slum dweller should have a house of his own -- with adequate water, electricity, primary education and medicare," he said.

"I am a small man... I began as a 'chaiwala'... But I assure you I will work for the small people of this country... And then I will be strong enough to do great things," he said.

Citing his government's "good work", Modi referred to the PM's 'jan-dhan' yojana which, he said, had generated Rs 3,000 crore as deposits from the rural poor.

He said a US-India joint research endeavour for better medicines to fight malaria, cholera and tuberculosis has been finalized.

Earlier in the day, he addressed two other meetings in the state — one in Beed and the other in Aurangabad. In Beed, he struck an emotional chord with the audience by saying he wouldn't have come to Maharashtra for campaigning had Munde been around. "If you want Munde's dreams to come true, ensure the BJP comes to power," he said.

In Aurangabad, Modi referred to the tourism potential of the district, which is home to the world heritage sites Ajanta and Ellora. "Efforts are required for improving infrastructure and developing adequate facilities to boost tourism here," he said.

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