Patna: Attacking Congress President Sonia
Gandhi over her "silence" on the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict,
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today asked her to
explain who was the 'Maut ka saudagar' (merchant of death).
Sonia Gandhi had during the campaign for the 2007
Gujarat Assembly polls called Modi a merchant of death for the
2002 riots in the state in the aftermath of the Godhra train
"Why is Sonia Gandhi silent on her party and
government's failure in ensuring justice to the Bhopal gas
tragedy victims? Now will she explain who is the maut ka
saudagar?," he said while addressing the 'Swabhiman Rally' of
the BJP on conclusion of the party's two-day national
Modi said several thousands had died during the
Bhopal gas leak in 1984 when Madhya Pradesh was ruled by the
"The verdict in the case has come out recently after a
26-year delay. But Sonia Gandhi is maintaining a comfortable
silence on the matter," the BJP leader said.
Modi alleged that Gandhi's silence on the issue of
price rise of essential commodities "was killing thousands of
poor in the country".
He said the UPA under Sonia Gandhi had come to power
with the promise of eradicating poverty, but even after
completing a year in their second term, the plight of the poor
in the country was only worsening every day.
The Gujarat Chief Minister claimed that the UPA
government was helpless when it came to bringing the
spiralling prices of essential commodities under control.
"Sonia Gandhi is a mother too. How come she does not
understand the burden of a poor mother, who is not able to
feed her child due to the high cost of the essential
commodities," he said.
On the Naxal problem, Modi said some sections in the
Congress party claim it was a socio-economic issue and that
Maoism grew when there was no development.
"The Congress party has ruled the country for over 50
years out of the 60 years since Independence. If there is no
development in the country and if it is giving rise to
Naxalism, then who is to be blamed but the Congress party," he
Modi said the Naxals killed innocent people and the
extremists should be answered in their own language.
"Development was important, but security of the
common man was equally important," he said.
Modi ignores Nitish
Modi also thanked the people of Bihar for the
generous help rendered to Gujarat for relief work after
earthquake hit the state in 2001.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had yesterday
objected to advertisements brought out by Gujarat government
saying that it had liberally donated to the state following
the Kosi floods.
In the wake of the controversy, Modi ignored Nitish Kumar in his speech even as he praised the state government for its development agenda.
"Bihar has progressed a lot. It took five years for the government in Bihar to revoke the damages caused by the previous (Lalu Prasad) government," he said. "I congratulate the people of Bihar."
He however made no reference to Nitish Kumar in his speech, which received repeated applause from delegates from around the country.
Modi further alleged the government was not consulting BJP-ruled states on appointment of Governors and Chief Justices of High Courts.
"Even several Bills adopted by the Gujarat Assembly with two-thirds majority have been put into cold storage by the Governor or the Centre for the past six years," Modi said.
"It is a deliberate attempt to weaken the Federal fabric of the country," he said.
The party national executive, which adopted the resolution, authorised Modi to prepare a report on the issue in consultations with chief ministers of BJP-run states for an appropriate action, party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told a press conference.
Modi, during the course of a debate on the resolution, accused the Centre of adopting a discriminatory approach with regard to states ruled by the saffron party.
He pointed out the erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had always preferred consultations and followed the Sarkaria Commission's recommendations before appointing Governors and Chief Justices of the states.
First Published: Sunday, June 13, 2010, 23:42