Modi mocks ‘foes to friends’ Opposition allies

NEW DELHI/JAMUI: Kicking off the BJP-led NDA’s poll campaign in Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the previous Congress governments of failing to effectively deal with cross-border terrorism from Pakistan. Modi said that the Congress’ failure gave rise to the perception that India was a “weak and poor” target.

Addressing an election rally in Jamui, Modi also mocked the Opposition I.N.D.I.A. bloc, saying those who used to “demand jail terms for each other in corruption cases” have come together “in the name of fighting against Modi”.

“The Congress and its I.N.D.I.A. bloc ally, the RJD, had given the country a bad name. The world used to think we were a weak and poor nation. Terrorists from small countries, which are struggling to maintain their supplies of wheat, used to strike at will. The Congress governments did little except seek intervention from other powerful nations,” he alleged.

The acerbic remark was an indirect reference to the US intervention sought by the UPA government after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, which Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister, was highly critical of. “Ours is an ancient country that has had powerful kingdoms like Magadh and legendary emperors like Chandragupta Maurya. Now, the world beholds a new India, which gives a befitting reply to the enemy on its own soil,” Modi said.

The Modi government prides itself on the military retaliations to the terror attacks in Uri and Pulwama, which were a major poll plank for the BJP-led NDA in the 2019 general election. “The world watches in amazement as our global standing undergoes a sea change. We are able to defend ourselves. Our advice is sought by the world in important matters. We are the fifth largest economy, have launched a successful lunar mission and were applauded for holding the G-20 summit,” the Prime Minister said.

“But you all are mistaken if you think all this was made possible by Modi. It was made possible by your vote,” said the Prime Minister, who termed the government's achievements in the last 10 years a "trailer".

Modi, in an indirect reference to INDIA bloc partners in Delhi partners -the Congress and the AAP-- said, “Those who used to hurl corruption charges at each other, used to demand jail terms for each other, have come together in the name of fighting Modi.”

“Should the corrupt not be in jail? I say remove the corrupt; they say defeat Modi,” he said. Modi, in his first election rally in Bihar since the announcement of the polls, also attacked the Congress-RJD combine for opposing the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and continuing to heap scorn on the shrine.

Modi also accused the Congress-RJD alliance of opposing the Bharat Ratna to OBC stalwart Karpoori Thakur and the election to the President's post of "dalit" Ram Nath Kovind and "tribal woman" Droupadi Murmu, in an apparent attempt to go beyond the BJP's image of being a pro-upper castes party. Jamui, a reserved constituency, has been represented twice by Chirag Paswan of the LJP (Ram Vilas), who has shifted base to his late father Ram Vilas Paswan's Hajipur, passing over the mantle to brother-in-law Arun Bharti.

Modi, who, true to form, greeted the people in their local dialect, said in his opening remarks, “I miss the presence ofmy friend Ram Vilas Paswan, who was here with us in the last elections. But I am glad to see that my little brother Chirag is taking his mission forward." Among those present at the rally was Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, also the JD(U) president, who assured the PM that the NDA will win "all 40 seats" in the state, even as he wished the latter a return to power with a 400-plus tally. Modi showered encomiums on Kumar, who returned to the NDA months ago.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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