M A I N   N E W S

Modi unveils his ‘Brand India’
Tribune News Service

Rainbow mantra
Modi promised to follow seven-point “rainbow strategy” for country’s development, if voted to power
This included strengthening India’s deep-rooted family system, promoting agriculture, women power, natural resources, youth power, democracy and knowledge

New Delhi, January 19
BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today unveiled the party’s strategy for 2014 General Election. He utilised Mani Shankar Aiyar’s tea vendor remark and Sonia Gandhi’s “dilemma” as a mother for launching a scathing attack on the Congress. He also unveiled BJP’s futuristic vision of India.

Addressing the BJP’s national council — the last one before the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections — Modi said a mother had refrained from projecting her son as the Congress PM candidate because she did not want to “sacrifice” him politically in view of the party’s “imminent defeat”.

“I see a human angle behind this decision of the Congress. When defeat is imminent, which mother will sacrifice her son politically? The heart of a mother (Sonia) decided to protect her son,” he said on the Congress decision not to name Rahul as the PM candidate.

He also trashed the Congress’ contention that it was following the party tradition while doing so. He said Rajiv Gandhi was declared the PM after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi in 1984; and in 2004 when the Congress MPs elected Sonia as the PM, she nominated Manmohan Singh for the job. After Independence, everyone wanted Sardar Patel to be the PM, but somehow Jawaharlal Nehru got the top job, he claimed.

He also mocked Rahul saying while Congress workers had come to the just-concluded AICC session looking for a PM candidate, they went back with three cylinders. In another dig at the Congress vice-president’s contention that the Congress was a “soch” (thought) that could not be erased, he said the entire party was in deep thought over the prospects of losing elections. On Rahul’s remarks that only those having the Congress in their hearts would be given the party ticket, he said the BJP would give the ticket to those who had India in their hearts.

But as Modi took on Sonia, Rahul and Manmohan Singh, he also tried to raise the bar of people’s expectations when he presented BJP’s vision of India.

He talked of next-generation infrastructure plans that included water, gas and optic grids, diamond quadrilateral of bullet trains, 100 new cities, health assurance, technology-driven agricultural growth, real-time crop data and “per drop more crop”. “When all this work begins, imagine the employment it would generate,” he said, unveiling his model of urban growth with specialised townships and twin and satellite cities and AIIMS, IIMs and IITs in every state.

“Let us build brand India with five Ts-talent, tradition, tourism, trade and technology,” he said.

On Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyar’s tea vendor comment, Modi said “those born in an aristocratic family” feel below their dignity to contest against a tea vendor coming from a backward caste because of their “feudal mindset”. The statement assumes significance considering that Modi has so far tried to build credentials on the development plank, sidelining the “Hindutva agenda” that the BJP used for its revival in 1990s.

Sources say he is planning to launch a “tea campaign” with a visit to a tea stall in Gandhinagar to draw complete mileage from the jibe. The event will be watched live in the country and simultaneously BJP leaders will interact with tea stall owners across the country.

As Modi highlighted Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s achievements, he did not forget to give credit to veteran leader LK Advani, promising to carry forward his fight for getting back the black money stashed abroad.

Reaching out to the states, Modi promised to change the present order in which the Centre behaved like a “big brother”, advocating equal status for central and state ministers.

Seeking people’s support, he seemed to rely on the now-tested AAP methodology. “For 60 years, you have chosen rulers. I appeal to the people to give 60 months to this sevak (servant),”he said.





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