Modi mocks at Rahul’s peasant rallies, Congress fires salvo (Lead)

August 15th, 2011 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi New Delhi/Nadiad (Gujarat), Aug 15 (IANS) The raging war of words between the Congress and Narendra Modi just got bitter Monday with the Gujarat chief minister mocking at Rahul Gandhi’s campaign for poor farmers.

The Congress quickly hit back and asked Narendra Modi to first put his house in order.

What triggered the latest bout of verbal vollies was Modi’s remark he made during his Independence Day speech.

Modi said: “It was a matter of shame that people still go for photo-ops to the homes of the poor.” He did not name Gandhi but the reference was clearly to him.

The Congress MP has been touring several states, stopping by at the homes of farmers to share a meal and sometimes even spend the night at their homes.

Modi has come under sharp attack from the Congress for taking disciplinary action against three senior police officers who alleged that the state government had failed to take action in curbing the riots of 2002.

The anti-Gandhi remark trigerred another salvo from the Congress.

“Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are getting frustrated finding a youth icon making a mark all across the country as they have no youth icon and we have Rahul Gandhi in the Congress,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Singhvi referred to Modi’s action against whistleblower police officers and said: “We know how several officers are being targeted by the Gujarat government as they dare to speak the truth. Let him not preach and he should set his own house in order.”

Modi used the speech to target those criticising him. “Constitutional bodies are being manipulated to insult Gujarat,” he said.

Supporting Gandhian Anna Hazare, the chief minister lashed out at the central government for adopting “double standards” vis-a-vis the social activist and his team.

“On the one hand those who are crusading against corruption are being asked to go to police and on the other officers in Gujarat who are indulging in indiscipline are sought to be encouraged by the centre,” he said.

The chief minister said he would perform the task of “cleaning up” all sectors of public life in his state in a manner that people like Hazare’s do not have to go on fast.

He said industrialisation in Gujarat had not come at the cost of agriculture. “It is only in Gujarat that land under agriculture has increased despite increase in industrialisation and yet canards are being spread against the state.”

Modi pointed out that while the country’s agricultural growth rate was stagnant at around two-three percent, Gujarat’s was over 10 percent as the state government had worked for the wellbeing of farmers.

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