PM Modi makes strong pitch against 'helpless' grand alliance
Pitching himself as the sole leader against a motley group of individuals on the rival side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dismissed the opposition grand alliance as a "failed experiment" and said that parties are coming together to defeat "one man" to form a "majboor" (helpless) government while the country wants a "majboot" (strong) government. He also launched a scathing attack on the Congress saying it had pushed the country into darkness, bled banks and had created roadblocks to an early judicial solution to the Ayodhya dispute.
In his valedictory remarks winding up the two-day BJP National Convention at the Ramlila Maidan here, he set the tone for the BJP's bid to come back to power again, stating that his government's track record was "spotless", it worked with honesty for all sections, ended despondency, raised people's confidence, accelerated the pace of development and enhanced India's stature. Speaking on the legislation giving ten per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections among the general category, he said this was not only reservations but will give a new dimension to the youth of the country.
Accusing rivals of spreading rumours and hatching conspiracies that the new quota will be at the cost of the existing reservations for SC-STs and OBCs, he said: "we have to foil their designs". Cautioning party workers against any complacency, he said the election will be won on the BJP's tried and tested method of "mera booth, sabse majboot" and not by his speeches alone. The convention adopted a political resolution, which described the mahagathbandhan as a "comical alliance" and said the choice before the people was between "stability and instability, between an honest and courageous leader and a leaderless opportunistic alliance - a majboot government and a majboor government."
Modi came down heavily on the opposition parties, saying they were aligning for their "self interest" while the BJP-led NDA government was fighting for the nation's interest. "These days a campaign has been going on to promote mahagathbandhan which is a failed experiment of Indian political history. The parties, which were born protesting against the Congress, its working culture and its corrupt practices, are now uniting," Modi said in a direct attack on most of the regional parties which are forging a grand alliance with the Congress.
He told over 12,000 delegates including from top brass to district-level office bearers that these political parties were surrendering to the Congress at a time when the grand old party was at its "lowest ebb" and its leaders were out on bail in corruption cases. "These parties (the regional parties), which had emerged as options against the Congress, have betrayed the people's mandate and trust," he said. Modi said that when such alliances take shape, the governments in those states work under political compulsions and cited the examples of the recent developments in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
"The Chief Minister of Karnataka (H.D. Kumaraswamy) is saying that he was working as a clerk and not as a Chief Minister. In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the governments are being threatened (by allies) to take back cases or face the consequences," he said calling these incidents as "trailers" of the grand alliance. Modi said that politics is done on the basis of ideologies and alliances are made on visions but for the first time it is happening "when all are uniting against one man".
"You need to understand and make the people understand what is behind their intentions. They have joined hands to form a 'majboor' government because they do not want to see a strong government which has ended all the corrupt practices," he said. "They want to do good to their families and relatives, while the country wants a strong government so that everyone can develop. They want a government which can broker in defence deals while the country wants a strong government to fulfil every need of the armed forces."
Modi cautioned people about who they chose as their "pradhan sevak" (principal servant), one who worked 18 hours a day tirelessly and one who would not go on holidays. "For the first time, it has happened that there is no allegation of corruption against the government. We can be proud that we have a spotless record," he said. Modi made several veiled attacks on Rahul Gandhi, saying he had met those who were talking of breaking India, had met the Chinese envoy during the Doklam standoff and had alleged "khoon ki dalali" over surgical strikes.
Referring to the National Herald case without naming Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, he said members of the "first family" of the Congress were on bail and the case pertained to 2012 when the UPA was in power. "We are `naamdars', how can we go, how can we be asked questions. The fact is that they have a problem with the truth. What are they hiding, we do not know. People on bail do not respect institutions, what respect they will give to the country. They have faith on 'rajshahi' (feudalism) and we on 'lokshahi' (democracy)," he said.
"Do people want a `sevak' who provokes family members, steals from the house, distributes the goodies among his family members and talks ill of the family with neighbours, goes on long leave or a sevak who works day and night, works more than the owners of the house and always thinks of their welfare. "The way you will choose a sevak, you decide what kind of pradhan sevak you want," he said.
Referring to the issue of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, he said the Congress sought to create "obstacles" in the judicial process through a party man who is a lawyer. Modi took a veiled dig at Gandhi over the Rafale deal, saying that he was not prepared to understand the issue. Referring to an answer given during the debate in Parliament on the issue, he said it had been explained citing an example that a bag filled with different ingredients will have a different price. "You can wake up a sleeping person but one who pretends to be asleep when he is awake, nothing can be done."
Modi said he was being abused and conspiracies were being hatched through an ecosystem linked to the Congress. Modi said that ten years of the UPA government were lost in scams and allegations of corruption. "Last four years have taught us that nothing is impossible. We have made it possible. When we took over, we inherited a weak foundation. Today our foundation is getting stronger. Imagine what will happen if we get another five-year term," he said.
BJP President Amit Shah, who spoke before Modi, said the 2019 battle was very crucial for the party and if it wins "it will be in power for a long time from panchayats to parliament." He also accepted the challenge of a grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh and other states. "Parties can come together for power and self-interest. The workers of the BJP under Modiji are prepared for the fight." The party's political resolution hailed Modi's tenure "as most successful" and said the opposition parties were coming together because of the "fear" of Narendra Modi.
"Those, who never wish 'namaste' to each other, are today coming together. In fact, we are the real kingmaker of their friendship. They have come together due to our fear. They don't have any principle even though they are making alliances," Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said while speaking on the political resolution. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the opposition parties of creating "a false narrative" based on lies and said it was the BJP which will decide the agenda and control the narrative of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. "Last time we got 282 seats, we will cross even that mark this time," he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)