Pavagadh (Guj): Buoyed by British Government's decision to resume engagement with Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi took a swipe at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying his government has not understood the importance of his state unlike the UK.
Observing at a rally in this temple town that "God is Great," Modi welcomed the decision ending a 10-year boycott of him imposed after the 2002 post-Godhra riots, calling it "important" and "better late than never".
Modi made these remarks at the rally on the concluding day of his Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra (VYVY) ahead of the state Assembly elections in December. He asserted that BJP will not give away Gujarat to Congress.
"For 10 years, they(Britain) had no relationship with Gujarat and today they realised the importance of Gujarat. Whether the Manmohan Singh government in Delhi has understood or not, but the British government has realised the need to maintain relationship with Gujarat," the jubilant BJP strongman said.
Reacting to Britain's Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire's statement, Modi had earlier tweeted, "Der Aaye Durasta Aaye (Better late than never)!! I welcome UK Govt's step for active engagement & strengthening relations with Gujarat. God is Great," Modi tweeted.
"Today the British government took an important decision. Better late than never. Ten years ago in 2003, they decided not to have diplomatic relationship with Gujarat. In Gujarat, the highest investment today is by British. And when Britishers decided not to have relationship with Gujarat, Europe too followed the same path," he said.
BJP National President Nitin Gadkari, Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh and Goa, Raman Singh and Manohar Parrikar respectively were also present at this temple town where Modi concluded his Yatra.
"I proudly say that in Delhi, leaders of 100 nations have not come together on a single platform. But in Vibrant Gujarat Summits, leaders of more than 120 nations have come together. Had the government in Delhi been with us, India's name could have been raised and the people of Gujarat would not have faced the difficulties they are facing now," Modi said.
Taking on the UPA government on the issue of corruption, Modi reminded his audience that today was the birth anniversary of Jai Prakash Narayan.
"The same Jai Prakash Narayan, who in 1975 headed the movement to oust a corrupt government...Today, the country is seeking yet another Jai Prakash to create a nationwide agitation against the corrupt government, to oust the corrupt government in Delhi and teach them a lesson."
In a dig at UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Modi said, "I have full confidence that even if Soniaji comes to Gujarat 50 times or more, she will not be able to win over Gujarat. Gujarat cannot be handed over to scamsters, Gujarat cannot be handed over to corrupt people."
The spokesperson for Gujarat government Jaynarayan Vyas said the statement by the British government has "cleared the myth that was spread by some NGOs and secularists".
"Diplomatic and cultural ties with that country will now increase and this will also help Gujarat government while organising the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Investor Summit 2013," he told PTI.
Modi had last visited the UK in 2003 and since then he had not sought visa to go there, he said.
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