Narendra Modi talks of healing wounds in Kashmir

Pathankot, PTI | Updated : 23 June 2013, 07:19 PM

Virtually launching the party's campaign for 2014 elections, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday talked about the need to "heal the wounds" of Kashmiris and connect its aspiring youths with the national mainstream for the development of the state.

Often described by critics as a divisive figure, Modi sought to portray himself as a leader who unifies, saying he would work for bringing parties and hearts together.

Addressing a rally here, Modi invoked former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said the task he left incomplete would be pursued by BJP if voted to power.

He attacked the UPA government over its Kashmir policy, economy and national security, saying it has failed on all fronts.

"Vajpayee had sought to win over the heart of Kashmir with compassion, love and dialogue...Had he been elected to power in 2004, he would have succeeded in his Kashmir policy," he said.

Kashmiri youths were aspiring for development and progress and they needed to be connected with the national mainstream. "The youths in Kashmir valley want to be part of development. Guns can spill blood but will do no good to one's life," he said on the occasion of party founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee's 60th death anniversary.

Invoking Mookerjee's slogan against two heads in one system, he said a similar situation exists today, referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "There are two bosses in the country and we do not know who of the two is genuine," he said.

Speaking of the rapid slide in the rupees' value against dollar, he said Congress was competing with rupees as to who could fall more.

Asking the people to vote out the Congress-led UPA government, Modi said, "Your (people's) future is not safe in their hands...we cannot play with the future of our youth".

He also took a dig at the advertising campaign run by the UPA government on various TV channels on flagship Bharat Nirman programme to highlight its achievements.

"The advertisement said 'bharat ke nirman pe haq hai mera' (I have a right to India's development). I said 'bharat nirman pe shaq hai mera' (I have doubt over India's development)," he said in an dig at UPA government.

Modi said during the past ten days this campaign, on which crores of rupees had been spent, was not running and had been stopped after he expressed doubts over its claims.

The Prime Minister must explain as to what he did after Sarabjeet Singh died in Pakistan on May 2 after he was fatally attacked by inmates in prison, Modi said.

He should explain as to why his government was treating the then Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to a lavish lunch in Jaipur within days of the incident and weeks after Indian soldiers were beheaded by Pakistanis near Line of Control, Modi said.

He heaped praise on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying youth employment during present UPA's rule is half of the employment provided by the erstwhile Vajpayee government.

Modi said he was saddened by the plight of the people of flood-ravaged Uttarakhand and said the people of the country were behind those who had been devastated by the natural tragedy.

Modi, who had visited the flood affected areas of Uttarakhand yesterday, reached out to the people affected by the calamity saying, "I felt the grief after listening to painful tales of survivors rescued from Uttarakhand."

Modi, who was elevated to the post of BJP's poll campaign chief recently, was here to address 'Sankalp Rally' organised on the occasion of 60th death anniversary of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee near his statue here on the Pathankot-Jammu National Highway.

He recalled the bonds he shares with Punjab, which were formed when he was here as BJP's in-charge for Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.

He also mentioned his close relationship with the Punjab Chief Minister.

He said he had worked closely with former Deputy Prime Minister, late Devi Lal and former Haryana Chief Minister, late Bansi Lal.

The rally was attended by BJP's ally in Punjab, ruling Shiromani Akali Dal's leaders, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The others present included senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar and various MLAs and MPs.

Jan Sangh founder Mookerjee had held his last public meeting here in 1953 before entering Jammu and Kashmir without a permit, which was mandatory then. He was arrested and died in detention on June 23, 1953.

The 18-feet-high statue of Mookerjee was unveiled by senior BJP leader L K Advani and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat on March 20, 2010 and the venue was named 'Ekta Sthal'.

Badal and Shanta Kumar also addressed the rally.

While addressing a rally in Madhopur area in Pathankot, the Gujarat chief minister claimed that foreign powers are "bent upon destroying the country" and charged Congress with playing vote-bank politics for "vested" interests.

Addressing a huge gathering at this nondescript town on Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab border, Modi said,"foreign powers are bent upon breaking the country, but the Congress is playing vote bank politics for vested interests."

The Congress-led UPA at the Centre has even failed to provide security to the common man, he alleged.

"The country is continuously under crisis due to Congress government's failure," Modi said at his maiden rally after being anointed as BJP's election campaign committee chairman of the BJP outside Gujarat.

Till date, those who threw weapons in Purlia in West Bengal have not been arrested besides Supreme Court had to intervene to bring back two Italians who killed fishermen in Kerala, he said.

"I ask Congress how they are running this government," Modi said.

The future of common man and youth is not safe in the Congress regime, Modi said, adding that when there is insecurity among youths how can the country grow.

He said that youth of the country wants education, employment and is keen to participate in the progress and development of the country.

Modi also urged youths from Kashmir to join the BJP for the progress of the country. "This will help you and your families too," he said.

The BJP is in favour of joint development of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh to end dissimilarities among the people of these regions.

"Our dream must be a Congress free India," he said.

Those present at the rally observed silence for a minute in the memory of those killed in the Uttarakhand flood.

Modi said, "We will unite friends and enemies, political parties and hearts in order to ensure progress and development of the country."

Vajpayee, claiming youth employment during the present UPA's rule is half of the employment provided by the erstwhile Vajpayee's government.

The Gujarat chief minister said, "the need of the hour is to determinedly work to carry forward Atalji's dream for the overall development of Kashmir.

He said that "Vajpayee played a great role in addressing the Kashmir issue."

Paying homage to Mookerjee, Modi said that Mookerjee was the first martyr in free India who sacrificed his life for unity of the country.

Talking about the mysterious death of Mookerjee, Modi said that the then Congress government never bothered to inquire into the circumstances in which Mookerjee died even though his mother had lodged a complaint.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal called upon people to launch another freedom struggle to free India from the "corrupt, mismanaged and misgoverned" Congress led UPA government.

Badal said that there was unprecedented contribution of Punjabis during the freedom struggle.

Poverty, unemployment and illiteracy were still prevailing in the country, Badal said.

He said that the dreams of Mookerjee would be fulfilled only after the Congress was completely wiped out from the political canvass of the country.

Welcoming Modi, Badal said with his elevation as the chairman of election campaign committee of BJP "new hopes for modern and developed India once again came alive".

The external as well as internal security of India was in danger as the directionless policy and programmes of UPA government could not yield any results, he said.

Badal appealed Modi to take out some time so that Punjab could arrange a much bigger rally in their support like the one arranged for Jai Parkash Narayan at Ludhiana during the seventies that had created history.

The SAD patriarch assured Modi that SAD-BJP alliance would surely win all the 13 Parliamentary seats in forthcoming general elections.

First Published: Sunday, June 23, 2013 12:35 PM
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