Yesterday was a busy day for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. He addressed seven public meetings across the State even as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi toured the State addressing gatherings and attacking the Modi Government on various imaginary fronts including the state of Gujarati farmers and the allegedly poor state of Gujarat’s roads.
Soon after Sonia made her allegations, Modi took to the stage in Surat and gave fitting replies to all her questions in his address.
Modi pointed out that Sonia Gandhi had failed to answer the questions he had asked her the previous day and that she had therefore failed his test. He also pointed out the family-rule mindset of the Congress leader by referring to the part of Sonia’s speech where she had said, “My mother-in-law also came to this area and you (the people of Gujarat) supported her. Support us also.” He asked the gathered people, “What does this say about the Congress’s view of politics?”
Modi took Sonia to task for saying that roads in Gujarat were in poor condition. “The first thing visitors to our State tell me is that we have great roads,” Modi said. “Now Sonia Gandhi, who came to visit us in a helicopter, says that we have bad roads. She is saying this without ever having even set foot on a Gujarat road.”
Sonia had also said that farmers in Gujarat are suffering under the BJP rule. Responding to this charge, he said that the State has large stretches of desert land. In fact, until some time ago, Gujarat was known for droughts that afflicted it for seven out of every ten months. “In spite of this, while the nation’s agricultural growth rate is less than 2.5 per cent, Gujarat has been performing at well over 10 per cent in the field.” Modi said that if Sonia wants to seek the Gujarati farmers’ vote, she should at least try speaking the truth.
Hitting back at the Congress’s time-tested ‘Garibi Hatao’ plank, Modi asked Sonia what had happened to the her 2009 promise of bringing prices down within 100 days of coming to power? He also wondered why Sonia hadn’t spoken about rising prices even once during her address in Gujarat.
“You say farmers are ruined in Gujarat,” Modi said. “From 23 lakh bales in 2001, production has risen to one crore 23 lakh bales in the last 10 years. But the UPA caused a loss of Rs 7000 crore to the cotton farmers of Gujarat by banning exports. The UPA has stabbed farmers in the back.” Modi said that the ban on cotton exports came at a time when prices were at their highest.
Modi took his audience back to earlier days and asked them if they remembered the times of ‘langdi bijli’ — the frequent power outages that happened in Gujarat during Congress rule. “During Congress rule, Jamnagar had 16 substations. In the last 10 years, we have added 46 substations!”
Reacting sharply to Sonia’s criticism of the law and order situation in Gujarat, Modi said that Sonia has no right to speak of such things, given how everyone remembers the regular disturbances that erupted during Congress rule in Gujarat. “Curfews are history in Gujarat today.”
Paying Sonia back in the same coin, Modi pointed out that in Delhi, women feared being outside after 6 pm. “Two Muslim girls were arrested in Maharashtra. Upon their release, they decided to move to Gujarat as they did not consider Maharashtra safe enough,” Modi said, speaking volumes about the law and order situation in his State.
Taking a dig at the rampant corruption under Congress rule, Modi said, ““Madam Sonia ji, I do not have a son-in-law. The nation knows what your sons-in-law are doing!”
Referring to the entire range of false allegations that Sonia made in her election speech, Modi said that Gujarat will not tolerate such insults. Modi pointed out that in the last seven years, three lakh youngsters have been given Government jobs. During Congress years, recruitment had stopped for many years.
Modi said that India’s suspension from the International Olympics Committee was a matter of great shame and said that the Congress had insulted the nation. “The world’s most youthful nation can’t take part in the Olympics? Congress people should drown themselves out of shame.” He announced that if it is too much to expect the Congress to do something it, then Gujarat will set up a Sports University and a sports school in every district of the State.