Ridiculing Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that corruption was affecting the common man, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday pointed out that the ruling party was trying to sweep the Adarsh society scam under the carpet in Maharashtra.
Modi was speaking at Maha Garjana, his first political engagement in Mumbai after being elevated to take the command of the saffron party’s campaign committee for 2014 general elections. He called on people to “vote for India” instead of political parties to free the nation from the ills of dynastic rule, corruption and inflation.
“...leaders of the Congress who run the country... make speeches against corruption. Look at their guts. Despite the fact that they are immersed in corruption and are disreputed over it, they put up an innocent face and make speeches against corruption,” said Modi in his hour-long speech at the Bandra Kurla Complex.
The caustic remarks were directed at Rahul Gandhi, who had addressed a gathering at the annual general meeting of FICCI on December 21. Gandhi had admitted that corruption was “bleeding our people dry”.
“See the irony... the Maharashtra ministers decided to save ministers responsible for the Adarsh scam. On the one hand, the Congress government decided to spare the corrupt, but on the other hand, a leader is giving sermons in Delhi,” said Modi, referring to the state cabinet’s decision to junk a judicial commission’s report on the controversial Colaba high-rise.
Modi, began his speech in Marathi, amidst cheers by 3-lakh audience. He said, “It is necessary to understand the Congress. They speak something and do exactly the opposite.”
Holding the ruling dispensation responsible for “communalism” and playing the minority card,” the 63-year-old leader charged that while Delhi-based Congress leaders were speaking on the scourge of black money, it was the responsibility of their party, which was in power at the centre, to stop it.
Modi said that it was common knowledge that this “loot” was stashed away in Swiss banks and added it needed to be brought back to India and used for the betterment of the poor.
“The reason for problems before the country are Congress-run governments,” said Modi, likening “bad governance” to diabetes. Modi said he “was sure that Maharashtra would be in the forefront of ensuring a Congress-free India”.
Referring to tea vendors being given special passes for his rally, Modi said not just them but all poor would get VIP status once his party was voted to power. He rued that the aspirations of the youth, who were feeling let down due to lack of job opportunities and a life of dignity, were not being reflected in Congress policies.
Modi attacked the Centre for its plans to scrap the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant and irrigation scam.
He said while the government was trying to dismantle a piece of history, the Gujarat government wanted to construct a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel out of iron pieces collected from farmers.
“For us in Gujarat, Mumbai is like a second home,” said Modi, adding that while Gujarat had scrapped octroi, Maharashtra had replaced the levy with local body tax (LBT), which he derided as “Loot batne ki technique.”
He spoke about how Gujarat had used technology and minimised human interference to reduce corruption as against the approach taken by Maharashtra. “Once the country decides, the conditions can be changed,” he added.