For the first time, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi dwelt on his humble background without pride or humility and to good political effect. “Chai waale ki badi khaatir daari ho rahi hai. Desh ka har chai wallah seena taan ke chal raha hain (There is much solicitude for tea-vendors nowadays. Every tea-vendor in the country is walking with chest out),” he said, referring to Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar’s insulting innuendo. He said that it revealed their feudalistic attitude. He said that Congress had only a family with a name to lead the party, while he was a man of action. “Vo naamdaar hai, main kaamdaar hoon (They are name-bearers. I am a man of achievements),” he retorted.
Almost for the first time, Modi referred to the fact of his backward class origins. He said that one of the reasons that Congress was not willing to fight him was their attitude born of the disdain of the high born because he was “backward class-born (pichchdi jaati ka paida hua)”.
He said that apart from political reasons there were also psychological reasons for Congress president Sonia Gandhi not wanting to field her son Rahul against him. Which mother would want to make a sacrifice of her son when defeat is staring the party in the face.
Modi also challenged the Congress claim that according to party tradition, the prime minister was chosen by the parliamentary party. He reminded that Rajiv Gandhi was not chosen by the Congress parliamentary party in 1984 and that in 2004 the CPP chose Sonia Gandhi to be prime minister and it was she who nominated Manmohan Singh to the post. He also dug out the historical nugget that in 1946, the Congress party representatives chose Sardar Vallabbhai Patel to be prime minister but against party wishes, Jawaharlal Nehru was selected.
He quoted Iqbal’s line without mentioning the poet’s name from the Tarana-e-Hindi, “kucch toh baat hai ki mit-ti nahin hasti hamaaree” and went on to distinguish the seven rainbow virtues of the country, starting with the family, going on to agriculture, livestock, villages, women and maternal energy, water, land, forest and air, youth power, democracy and knowledge.
Modi moved beyond criticism of Congress party and spelt out some of the things which he thinks need to be done by the time India celebrates the diamond jubilee of its independence in 2022. He wants bullet trains to connect India’s four major metros, and he said that the Indian Raiway was a great asset for the country and if it is modernised the country would be modernised. He said that there should railway universities to do research on the problems and challenges facing the rail system in the country.
He also said that there is need to build 100 new townships and set up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS in every state as this would trigger massive economic activity in terms of construction and jobs for the young people. He said urbanisation should have been seen as an opportunity and not as a problem. He also wanted “beti bachao, beti badhao (Save the girl, push for her development), and expressed the need to change the attitude towards women, and that from being home-makers women should become nation builders.
He ended his speech with his “Idea of India”, which was based on Sanskrit epigrams including “vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the whole humanity is a family), and dictum from Manu Smriti that where women are respected gods dwell, and “ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti (Truth is One, Seers know it differently).