Launching himself as a national leader and sounding the poll bugle, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stressed on the need to “heal the wounds” of Kashmiris and connect its aspiring youth with the national mainstream for the development of the state.
In his first political address after becoming chief of the BJP election campaign committee, Modi blasted prime minister Manmohan Singh for not guarding the national interests and in the same breath wanted that the J&K youth, gone astray due to prolonged violence in the state, needed to be brought back to the mainstream where they could contribute to the growth and development of the country.
Addressing a “sankalp” rally organised to pay homage to Jan Sangh founder Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee to mark his 60th martyrdom day, Modi regretted that the J&K problem had derailed the state completely over the years. He said Dr Mookerjee, who was arrested in Madhopur for forcing his entry into the J&K and was later detained in Srinagar where he died in 1953 within days of his arrest, was a victim of the nefarious designs of inimical forces. He said Dr Mookerjee died in suspicious circumstances and the then prime minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru paid no heed to look into it.
The Congress, he said, always supported such forces. Paying glorious tribute to former prime minister AB Vajpayee for his efforts to resolve contentious J&K issues, he said had Vajpayee been around for some more time the problem would have resolved for all times.
Modi said the task Vajpayee left incomplete would be pursued by the BJP if voted to power. He also sought to portray himself as a leader who unifies, saying he would work for bringing parties and hearts together.
At the public meeting, which is seen as veritable launching of the BJP’s election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, Modi made an extra effort to demolish his image as just a Gujarat leader, and stoutly reaffirmed his links to various northern states, including J&K, Punjab,and Haryana.
He recalled how he learnt his lessons in politics and service from former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah, how Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal taught him the basics of coalition politics, and how he worked under the aegis of veteran Haryana leader Devi Lal.
Modi made a conscious mention of his six-year stay in Panchkula as BJP worker during his youth days, and working for the party in the four northern states — Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and J&K.
Giving the slogan of “shanti-ekta, sadbhavana” ( peace, unity and harmony) Modi sought that the Gujarat idiom of growth and development be translated nation-wide.
He said that as against the Congress’s divisive politics, the BJP stood for all-inclusive path of development.