At 45°C, crowd hails Modi’s speech in Chhattisgarh.

published on May 20, 2013
RAJNANDGAON (CHHATTISGARH): Gujarat chief minister NarendraModi was the star attraction at a public meeting in Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh’s constituency here on Sunday and he didn’t disappoint with his Congress bashing.

With the temperature at a sweltering 45.3 degrees, the rally was scheduled for 4 pm and a shamiana gave shade to the over 20,000 people, a good many of them women, in attendance. The only two people who mattered on the stage were Singh and Modi. The speeches were short, and while the applause for Modi was not overwhelming, it was warm and welcoming.

Raman Singh wrapped up his address fast and handed over the stage to Modi, one of the 10 visiting BJP leaders who were part of his statewide Vikas Yatra, on different days, as a run-up to the assembly polls in November.

Then, the show was all Modi. The Gujarat CM declared how Chhattisgarh under the “able rule” of Raman Singh had become the fastest growing state in the country and told the locals that their CM had made an impact in Delhi, so much so that his food security act was a model for the Centre’s pending food security bill and his handling of the Maoist issue was recognized by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself.

Modi then moved on to Congress-bashing, which seemed to connect in a state where BJP and Congress are the two principal poles.

The tech-savvy Gujarat CM came to know that Rahul Gandhi had just spoken about improvement in the education sector in Kerala and had given credit to the Congress government in the state. He mentioned it at the rally without naming Rahul. “Congress in Kerala is taking credit for improving education levels in Kerala but Congress is not responsible for it,” he said, passing on the credit to a Hindu religious guru.

With Chhattisgarh having several coal mines, Modi was quick to bring in the Coalgate scam. “Soon, banks will have to open lockers to store coal, for even coal is being looted by the Congress at the Centre, so your coal has to be kept in bank lockers,” he said.

“They (Centre) say they have given you pajamas, but they are stealing the strings,” he said, apparently responding to Congress leader Digvijay Singh who had said the Centre had given the pajamas and the state was only putting the string to it, about central schemes being implemented in Chhattisgarh.

“Raman Singh has the courage to face people and find out from them whether his efforts have worked on the ground, but does the prime minister have that courage to go to the people asking for an appraisal on himself… No, they have only looted. I am challenging the PM to stand beside Raman Singh and ask for an evaluation,” Modi said.

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