Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi did what he does best: attack Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family without pulling any punches.
He said the BJP was a party with a mission while the Congress was a party for commission and that the election battle was between mission and commission.
He said commissions were paid to nephews, uncles, and other relatives. When someone from the audience mentioned “daamaad (son-in-law)”, he said he missed out on that because he was not a “grihast (married householder)” and did not understand the welter of relationships.
He said the Congress party was always sacrificed at the altar of the Nehru-Gandhi family. He, however, did not take Nehru-Gandhi names. He said Sitaram Kesri was made president of Congress only to be a “night watchman”, and when the family wanted to take over, he was thrown out from his office physically, an unprecedented thing in a democratic set-up.
He said that prime minister Manmohan Singh was another “night watchman”, and he felt that the job should have gone to Pranab Mukherjeee but the family did not trust him. Modi was all praise for Pranab Mukherjee saying “Pranabda” was a rooted man who had a grasp of the ground reality unlike Singh who had no clue about reality and that the country would have been very different with Mukherjee as prime minister.
His words of praise for Mukherjee is being interpreted as an overture to the president, keeping in mind the probable situation after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Since no party is likely to get a clear and decisive majority, the president will play a crucial role in inviting a political party or alliance to form the government.
He mocked the Congress, saying what the party was passing off as reform was merely plugging the loopholes of a distorted delivery system. He said real reforms should be about policies, which look at the country’s future 25 years and 50 years hence. The Congress has done no real reforms, he said.
He expressed gratification that in their bid to criticise him, the Congress had to pay attention to developmental issues, and that they were only nit-picking. “They would say that I have spent Rs1,100 crore instead of Rs1,200 crore.”