New Delhi: Hitting back at Congress, BJP led by Narendra Modi on Sunday taunted it for not naming Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate saying Sonia Gandhi wanted to save her son from being sacrificed politically in view of 'imminent' defeat in the Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, while attacking the UPA's policies, unveiled his vision for the country, promising to develop 100 smart cities and set up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS in every state while projecting India as a brand worldwide.
He talked about steps like creation of a 'Price Stabilisation Fund' and having a system of realtime data of agricultural produce to deal with the problem of inflation and creating more job opportunities to deal reduce poverty.
At the National Council here, senior leader L.K. Advani cautioned the party against 'over confidence' citing the example of 2004 even as he praised Modi, whose elevation as PM candidate he had been opposed initially.
The Council adopted a political resolution which attacked the Congress and its government, saying they were responsible for slow economic growth, failure to check terrorism, vote bank politics, and decline of constitutional institutions.
It said Congress had taken the 'exit' route by not naming Rahul as PM candidate as he was 'no match' to Modi and was equally responsible for the 'ills' and 'suffering' of the country.
Taking the centre stage on the second and concluding day of the conclave, Modi questioned Congress' contention that it was following the tradition that PM should be elected by party MPs as he cited the case of Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 and Manmohan Singh in 2004.
Targeting the Prime Minister, Modi said, "Not a single month goes when he does not form a committee. The country is burdened with committees. Now it is time not for committees but for commitments."
The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate also responded to the 'chai wala' barbs at him by Congress leaders by invoking his backward class background and saying that 'those born in an aristocratic family' feel below their dignity to contest against a tea vendor because of 'feudal mindset'.
During his 75-minute speech at the conclusion of the two-day meet, he took digs at Rahul while referring to his address at AICC on Friday and attacked the UPA government over its policies, corruption and price rise.
Insisting that the upcoming Lok Sabha polls are not only for a change in government but for meeting the hopes and aspirations of the country, Modi asked people to give 'this servant' a chance to serve for 60 months when they have given chance to 'rulers' for 60 years.
The Gujarat Chief Minister, who is often attacked by Congress, said, "woh naamdar hain aur mai kaamdar hun (they are big names and I am a worker)."
Referring to the Congress decision of not naming Rahul as PM candidate, Modi said, "There are obviously political reasons. But I see a human angle behind this decision of Congress. When defeat is imminent, which mother will sacrifice her son politically? The heart of a mother (Sonia) decided to protect her son."
"Congress workers came for a PM and got three cylinders instead," he added.
He questioned Congress' contention that it was following the tradition of not naming a PM candidate as the person should be elected by the MPs.
In this regard, he referred to 1984, saying Rajiv Gandhi was made as the Prime Minister hours after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi. "About four people took the decision and Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the Prime Minister," he said.
He also mentioned 2004, when Congress MPs elected Sonia Gandhi to be the Prime Minister but she instead nominated Manmohan Singh for the top job. Modi claimed that after Independence, 'everyone' want Sardar Patel to be the Prime Minister but somehow Jawaharlal Nehru got the top post.
Invoking his backward class background, he said, "How can people with big names contest against a worker? They feel insulted. For those born in higher clan cannot think of being pitted against a person born in a backward caste, whose mother used to clean utensils and fill water of others...How can they contest against someone who sold tea?"
Responding to the comment by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar that he should focus on selling tea than dreaming about becoming the Prime Minister, Modi said all the tea vendors are today feeling proud that one among them was contesting for the top post.
The BJP leader has himself been saying that he used to sell tea in trains during his inital years.
"The tradition in which they have grown up, the way they have established themselves as a senior family, when people live in this kind of life, their mindsets become conditoned in such a manner that they they they feel it is a matter of shame to contest a tea boy in the election," he said.
He said that it feels humiliating for those 'born with prominent sirnames' (Namdars) to constest against those who is known for his work (Kamdar).
"It feels insulting... they think there is no equality..they are 'namdar'...I am 'kamdar'...these big namdars feel bad to contest against a Kamdar.. they think its humiliating for them," Modi added.
"They think that it is below their dignity to fight against a person was born in a backward class...a person whose mother used to clean dishes in the neighbourhood, a person who used to sell tea in a railway compartment, we fight such a person?," he added.
The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate said Congress had ruled the country for 60 years and it was now time for giving a chance to his party for 60 months.
"For 60 years, you have chosen rulers...I appeal to the people, you have given 60 years to rulers, now give 60 months to this 'sevak' (servant). It is time now for 'sevak'," he said while addressing the BJP gathering at Ramlila ground.
Modi cited Atal Bihari Vajpayee's rule and the decisions taken during that time while urging people to elect a government based on the track record of parties and not on rheotrical claims coming out of 'decrepit tape-recorders'.
He also praised the L.K. Advani, who had initially been opposed to his projection as the PM candidate, and promised to implement his favourite proposal of getting back blackmoney stashed abroad if he becomes the Prime Minister.
He sought to reach out to states, many of which are ruled by regional parties whose support to him could be crucial in future. He promised to change the present order in which the Centre behaves like a 'big brother' and acted as if it was doing a favour to states with its help.