Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attacked the Congress over Mani Shankar Aiyar's 'neech' comment and his reported recent meeting with Pakistani officials, alleging that Pakistan was interfering in Gujarat Assembly elections.
Modi, who was speaking at a rally in Palanpur in Banaskantha, sought an explanation from the Congress over its top partymen who purportedly met leaders from the neighbouring country.
The prime minister also raised questions over the alleged appeal by former director general of the Pakistan Army, Sardar Arshad Rafiq, that senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel be made Chief Minister of Gujarat.
"There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar's house. It was attended by Pakistan's high commissioner, Pakistan's former foreign minister, India's former vice-president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh," Modi said. The meeting at Aiyar's house carried on for almost three hours, Modi said. "The next day, Aiyar called me 'neech'. This is a serious matter," he added.
"(On one side) Pakistan Army's former director general is interfering in Gujarat's election, on the other side, Pakistan's people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar's house," he alleged.
"And, after that meeting, people of Gujarat, backward communities, poor people and Modi were insulted. Don't you think such events raise doubts?" Modi asked. He said the Congress should inform the people of the country what exactly it was up to.
Attacking the Congress over its frequent "suit boot ki sarkar" jibe against him, Modi said that the Padma Awards are a good indicator of who really is pro-poor in their policies.
"Just see the kind of people who were given the Padma Awards (Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan) in the 10 years of UPA government and three years of NDA government. You will realise who works for the common man," Modi said.
After Palanpur, Modi travelled to Sanand, where he continued to slam the Congress.
"Could anyone have imagined that a small village like Sanand would reach such great levels of development?" Modi asked at the beginning of his speech. Modi said that Congress governments of the past only developed the Ankleshwar-Vapi "golden corridor". "We also developed Sanand, Viramgam and other areas too. This area is now a hub of automobile industry, " Modi said while adding that companies like Tata Nano. Maruti Suzuki, Ford, Bharat Forge now have their factories in the region.
Slamming Congress over corruption and caste politics, Modi said, "Those who had made corruption their habit cannot help the country. I took the state to new economic height but these Congress leaders used caste politics to break Gujarat. I remember Viramgam used to have frequent curfews in the past as a result," the prime minister said.
Hard selling his development model, Modi said, "We were known for being entrepreneurs and businessmen but there was no manufacturing industries here. After we came to power, we are now a manufacturing hub. We are also a hub of engineering services."
"Gujarat was nowhere in agriculture as most of the time there were droughts. Before I came to power, there was an agricultural growth rate of one percent. We took it to at least 10 percent each year. Through Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sampada Yojna (PMKSY), we helped Gujarati farmers to gain more money by selling byproducts," Modi said while talking about Gujarat's agricultural development.
Reiterating his policy against urea hoarding, Modi said that he made sure "100 percent neem coating" became a main priority of the government. "Urea used to go to major industries and not to farmers. We decided to bring 100 percent neem coating as a policy. All the corrupt practices are now over," Modi said.
"Now, these people are attacking me as their source of illegal income is over. Now I get no urea-related issues from chief minister. This is the change in three years," Modi said while saying that Congress was hand-in-glove with the urea mafia.
Urging Congress set its own house in order before attacking him, Modi remarked that Congress has been wiped out of most of the state. "Even if you use a microscope... you cannot see them," he remarked.
At a rally in Panchamahal's Kalol, Modi said that development is the only agenda for his party, while blaming Congress for indulging in "divide and rule" politics. "Congress is back to their old tricks. A generational shift has not brought in a new political culture for the party," Modi said.
With the mantra of Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana (peace, unity and compassion), successive BJP governments have taken Gujarat to new heights of progress, Modi said.
Modi claimed the Congress leaders mocked him over electrification of villages and lauded the BJP government for ensuring the success of the programme. "State Congress leaders said it can never happen, they also asked me: You have not headed a Panchayat how can you promise this? We proved them wrong, ensured villages get power," Modi said.
The second phase of polling in north and central Gujarat, including the Banaskantha district, will be held on 14 December. Counting votes will take place on 18 December. In the first phase of polling on Saturday, 89 out of the 182 seats voted. The voter turnout was around 68 percent, the Election Commission said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2017 21:08:49 IST