2.19 pm: Advani takes the stage after Modi
BJP patriarch LK Advani has taken the stage after Modi, and has expressed his happiness with how far the party has come.
"We have made it clear that we don't just want to occupy PM's seat but have over 272 seats in the Lok Sabha. I don't remember such a meeting ever ending like this in any previous election. Seeing these programmes I feel happy from where the party has come to where it has reached."
2.00 pm: Modi unveils 5 T's for Brand India: Talent, tourism, technology, tradition and trade
And we are back to the national agenda. Again, may we reiterate, this speech is clearly meant to be a national Prime Ministerial candidates speech, and not just an address directed towards party workers. This may well have been a BJP ploy to highlight it preparedness for the upcoming elections, unlike the Congress
He touches on poverty, agriculture, price rise, inflation and unemployment.
And to wind up, he talks at length about 'my idea of India'. "A new terminology is coming- My Idea of India. This is not the property of any one person or family", he says.
This vision for the BJP seems to comprise 5 Ts for brand India: Talent, tourism, technology, tradition and trade.
"My idea of India is Satyameva Jayate", he adds.
Modi ended by having the crowd chant what is likely to be the BJP battle cry - 'vote for India'.
"When there is a chaiwallah on the battlefield the nation will willingly fill our coffers", he said.
1.50 pm: Cong may be an idea, but its out of ideas, says Modi
Rahul's speech is next on the Modi agenda.
"In Congress meet it was said that it was an idea. But Congress is out of ideas", he said.
Not stopping there, he went on to attack some of Rahul's other speeches and public gaffes.
"He said India is a beehive, but we believe India is our mother. He says until we talk of the poor there is no fun. We don't sleep well thinking of the plight of the poor", he said.
Manmohan Singh was also not spared the attack. "They believe money doesn't go on trees. We believe it grows in farms and is the result of labour", he said in a reference to the Prime Minister's address to the nation before introducing FDI in retail into India.
"They want to divide and rule, we want to unite and progress. They think of how to save party, we want to save nation. They think only those with Congress in heart will win, we think only those with Bharatmata in their heart will get a ticket".
1.40 pm: Modi vows to save the youth
After the usual references to backward castes, women and farmers, Modi turns on to the youth - his key voter base for the upcoming elections.
"The most important aspect is the strength of our youth. We are blessed in this respect.If we had the right policies our youth would not only improve the nation but could improve the world. We should protect the youth of our nation from narcotics. We should have a zero tolerance policy on this".
This is more than the Congress slug fest we were expecting. Modi is essentially delivering a national speech.
The flipside of this however, is that he seems to be losing the crowd, which is essentially made up of party workers.
1.30 pm: Modi promises to lead a truly federal India
The next item on the Modi agenda is federal India. "We are a federal nation and it cannot be just adhered to as something constitutional. We need to respect it in letter and spirit", he says.
This is an interesting statement given that it has largely been Modi together with his Tamil Nadu counterpart J Jayalalithaa, who have been fighting the centre in various matters including the setting up of the NCTC, a mechanism to share information and resources with regard to combatting terror.
"As a CM I completely understand the importance of the federal structure of the nation. I can understand troubles of every state and chief minister. BJP will empower the federal structure of nation"
He said that to truly empower states, 'relief packages' and 'doles' were not the answer.
"I want the PM and CMs to be a team that takes the nation forward. If we can form united structures then we can take the nation forward by combining our strengths"
1.18 pm: Modi talks 'regional aspirations', is he reaching out to Mamata?
Having gone after the Congress, Modi starts expounding on his other favourite topic - namely that of good governance and inclusive development.
"We have heard a lot about concern for poor and progress. What was wrong in our policies that there is progress taking place in west India but entire east is in disarray? I want to promise that when you vote us to power this year that we will ensure the progress of the region that is lagging behind", he said.
He also deals with the topic of regional 'aspiration'. And though this statement was couched in the language of development, is it really a hint to potential alliance partners in a post poll scenario? " We want to move ahead with a vision of inclusivity. We should not consider regional aspirations a problem. They were earlier viewed as a burden but regional aspirations can also be viewed as an opportunity",he tells the assembled workers.
Given the emphasis on the east and the 'opportunity' of regional aspirations, is this his way of reaching out to Mamata Banerjee? The West Bengal Chief Minister has so far expressed her support for a non-Congress, non-BJP third front alliance. The question is, will she bite?
1.07 pm: "They are naamdar, but I am kaamdar", says Modi to workers
Modi has the crowd gripped. His precise, well timed jabs at the Congress would win him many points in any boxing arena. After informing the sniggering crowd of party workers that Sonia Gandhi had said, "Nahin, nahin. Mere bete ko bachao" (save my son) in refusing to field him as the PM candidate, he predictably moves on to Mani Shankar Aiyar's now infamous tea vendor statement.
Low hanging fruit. Modi has always played the outsider in politics, and this frankly classist statement gives him enough ammunition to play the victim. How he, a man of the people, is deemed an 'unacceptable choice' by the Congress, because they cannot bear to see a man of humble origins rise to the echelons of power.
"These days there is a lot of talk about chai-wallahs, who are all walking around proudly. They are naamdaar but I am a kaamdaar. They think they are part of a family that has always been respected and we have to take on someone from a backward caste? A man whose mother used to clean people's utensils? A man who once sold tea on trains? How can we stoop to this battle, they think", he said.
He is not even shouting, at times almost whispering into the mic. But the crowd is hooked. There is almost pin drop silence in the crowded stadium, despite scattered applause and cheers at a particularly well directed snipe at Congress.
12.56 pm: Cong hoped for a PM candidate, got LPG instead, says Modi
That didn't take long. The Congress jibes have already started and the first one is a doozy. Expressing his sympathy for the Congress workers who assembled for the party assembly he says, "They came hoping for a Prime Ministerial candidate and went away with three cylinders of LPG".
And he also has a theory on as to why this happened. "I see a human reason for the Congress decision. When defeat is imminent, will any other mother sacrifice her son?"
He added that while the Congress national conference was all about saving the party, the BJP council was really all about saving the nation.
He also pointed out that it was quite ironic for a party that claimed to be the upholder of democracy, it never followed democratic principles itself.
"When Indira Gandhi was assassinated, Rajiv Gandhi rushed to hospital and in moments he was declared PM. At independence when the first PM was chosen what happened to democratic principles?"
12.50 pm: Crowd goes mad as Modi takes the stage
A largely lacklustre crowd is cheering loudly as Modi finally takes the stage, almost an hour behind schedule.
Modi is starting off soberly. He is thanking his fellow party leaders and all the party workers who have assembled at the Ram Leela maidan from across the country.
But this is the tried and tested Modi method to drive crowds to deliriums of delight. He starts off soberly, and steadily builds the assembled crowds into a fever pitch of delight.
12.28 pm: Modi scheduled to take stage any time now
Modi's speech is slightly behind schedule, but he is expected to take the stage anytime now. Sushma Swaraj, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Venkiah Naidu have all addressed the gathering, who have been patiently waiting for their favourite.
Speaking earlier, Sushma Swaraj said that the Congress did not name a prime ministerial candidate because it fears losing the coming Lok Sabha election.
10.45 am: Modi to speak at BJP national council, Rahul, Aiyar on hit list
BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will address the BJP's national council at the Ram leela Maidan today, where he is expected to launch a scathing attack on the Congress party. He will also have plenty of ammunition with which to do so.
Firstly there is Rahul Gandhi's 'inspiring' speech to party workers on 17 January, where he attacked Modi, saying that those dreaming about a Congress-free India would themselves be destroyed.
Tearing into BJP and its PM candidate Modi for his 'Congress-free India' campaign, he said Congress is a "thought" which cannot be erased. "Whoever has tried to do it, has himself got destroyed".
Today will be Modi's opportunity to hit back. He has already told party workers to concentrate on running a grounded election campaign focusing on booths and households as he said polls are not won through rallies and TV debates.
Striking a note of sarcasm, the Gujarat Chief Minister said, "We cannot beat Congress in their way of running a campaign. We do not have the ability to spend such money, misuse state machinery or resort to any dirty tricks. The power we have is the power of organisation." His speech today will most likely expand on that.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's infamous 'tea vendor' comment is also expected to figure prominently in Modi's speech.
"There is no way he can be Prime Minister in the 21st century... but if he wants to come and distribute tea here we can make some room for him", Aiyar said, in comments that the party has since distanced itself from.
But the BJP machinery has already swung into action.
There are already plans for Modi to visit a tea stall in Gandhinagar in Gujarat that will be beamed live in 1,000 locations across the country.
And on Saturday, BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the Congress had been trying to defame Modi by making personal attacks against him.
So expect a scathing, (read entertaining) speech from the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate!
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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2014 14:38:52 IST