Narendra Modi challenges PM, says youth looking for change

Hitting out at Dr Manmohan Singh, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the Prime Minister`s Independence Day speech was disappointing.

Zee Media Bureau/Kamna Arora

Bhuj: A day after throwing a challenge at Manmohan Singh, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday described the Prime Minister`s Independence Day speech as disappointing.

After unfurling tricolour at Lalan College here on the occasion of 67th Independence Day, Modi reviewed the PM`s speech intricately, slammed the United Progressive Alliance`s policies and hailed Gujaratis.

Amidst chants of Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram, Modi began his speech by invoking the memory of freedom fighters and said both the non-violent and revolutionary paths to independence went through Gujarat.

Modi lashed out at Dr Singh in his Independence Day speech shortly after the Prime Minister addressed the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort.

Hitting out at the PM`s speech, Modi said that he was `disappointed` with the address. "I am very disappointed with the PM`s speech. There was no message. Not just me, the whole country is disappointed," he said.

"I am wondering that despite your name being included among those people who has unfurled the tricolour on the maximum occasions, you are saying the same things which were said by Pandit Nehru in his first address to our nation."

Modi said the same problems and concerns are highlighted by Singh today were mentioned by Nehru in his first speech.

"The question arises what did you do for the past 60 years. If the situation has not changed a bit...Then what have you done," he asked.

Modi criticised the PM for not adopting a tough stand against Pakistan. Addressing the gathering at Lalan College premises, Modi said: "I expected PM would make a strong statement from Red Fort. Prime Minister should have talked tough from the ramparts of Red Fort."

The Red Fort should have been used to boost the morale of our armed forces, Modi underlined, referring to August 06 incident where five Indian jawans were killed by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control.
"I don`t believe that Lal Qila (Red Fort) is not meant to challenge Pakistan, but I believe the address should have been to lift the morale of the forces," said Modi.

The Gujarat Chief Minister slammed the UPA government over China`s incursions into Ladakh and shooting of fishermen by Italian marines in Kerala.

"You are ruling a big country, we are managing a small state. I challenge the Prime Minister for a debate on the issue of development and good governance between government sitting in Delhi and our government," Modi said.

Blaming the PM for corruption and rising inflation, the Gujarat CM said there was a need to get rid of the stagnant mentality that has plagued India for a number of decades.

"We are still slaves, mentally. For the last 60 years, we have been hearing the same things again and again, we are tired," said Modi, who is widely expected to be named the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)`s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 General Elections.

On corruption, Modi said that the situation in this context has been getting worse. Taking a jibe at incidents of corruption, Modi said that earlier serial on TV involved uncles and nephews (refer: Pawan Kumar Bansal) but now it has changed.

Saas, bahu aur damaad ke serials bhi aane lage hai (now the serial involves mother-in-law, daughter-in-law and son-in-law)” he said, referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi`s son-in-law Robert Vadra land deals.

Slamming the PM for attributing the achievements of the nation to a `single family`, Modi questioned why Dr Singh did not mention the names of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his speech.

In a clear reference to Manmohan Singh`s tributes to Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in his Red Fort speech, Modi said: "It is sad the Prime Minister only remembered a family. Would it not have been better if he had remembered Sardar Patel (also)."

Applauding President Pranab Mukherjee`s speech on the eve of Independence Day, Modi said, "In his speech, President said Lok Sabha is an `akhara`. I agree with him. This government is not letting House function." He further took a dig at the PM and asked him "to ensure that the worries of the President are addressed".
He also underlined that the nation needed a new line of thought. “Every media channel was saying that it was the PM’s last speech but the PM claimed that there were miles to be covered in the future."

The PM did not mention the contributions of several states and the people of India to helping the Uttarakhand victims, noted Modi.

He also criticised the UPA government`s flagship Food Security Bill, saying it will not benefit the poor. The bill has many shortcomings that need to be addressed, he said.

Modi applauded the people of Gujarat for contributing to its development. "Gujarat has reached where it has because of the people of the state and all CMs that have served the state," he said.

The youth of this nation is impatiently seeking change, he thundered.

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