Problem in Delhi, not on border, says Modi

Problem in Delhi, not on border, says Modi

'Prime' rally: Pakistan told to give up terror

Problem in Delhi, not on border, says Modi

Three days after being anointed BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi trained his guns on the Centre by attributing border skirmishes to the UPA’s weakness with his quip, “Problem is not on the border but in Delhi”.

At a rally of ex-servicemen in the Ahirwal region of Haryana, known as the Army’s recruitment hub, Modi advised Pakistan to give up terrorism and, instead, wage a war against poverty and illiteracy. “You might have born in an anti-India atmosphere but you can’t progress taking an anti-India stand,” he said.

Advising the neighbour country to give up the policy of “bomb, bandook (gun) aur pistol,” the BJP’s Hindutva poster boy said: “I want to tell my Pakistan friends that war has not taken (them) anywhere in the last 10 years. Shed terrorism and you (Pakistan) will achieve what you could not in the last 60 years.”

At the packed gathering, Modi ridiculed Defence Minister A K Antony for making an “unfortunate” statement in Parliament over the killing of soldiers on the Line of Control (LoC). Antony had come under fire for his “weak” statement that “someone came in Pakistani soldiers’ uniform and killed our soldiers”.

Modi hit out at the Centre for the continued problems on the border. “Pakistan is not giving up its design. China is showing us its might through intrusion…(China) is keen to stop Brahmaputra river waters and wants to take control of Arunachal Pradesh,” he stated in his usual style.

The Gujarat chief minister termed the Army a “symbol of secularism” and said lessons should be drawn from it. Referring to the “dangerous attempt” by the Sachar Committee, which wanted a headcount of Muslims in the Army, he said vote-bank politics “stinks and divides the country”. He thanked the Army, Navy and the Air Force for putting their foot down against the Sachar panel recommendation, which he termed a “sin” that should not be pardoned.

The restless crowd’s chanting of “Modi, Modi” prompted former Army chief V K Singh and BJP leader B C Khanduri to give way to the Gujarat strongman, who spoke for about 65 minutes in the sultry heat of the dusty village where some of the audience was gasping for breath.

Others present in the crowd included Olympian silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who recently joined the BJP, Capt Abhimanyu and several retired armed forces personnel.

Modi also tried to draw himself closer to the armed forces by claiming that he also wanted to join the Army but could not owing to his humble background. He announced that his government has laid underground pipes to ensure that forces guarding the border with Pakistan get potable drinking water.

He also pushed the move for indigenisation of military hardware since much of the defence budget was spent on importing machines and equipment.

V K Singh, who was sharing the BJP platform for the first time, told the gathering that the government’s weak policy should change since it ends up giving the perception that the forces are not strong which is not correct.

He also called for one rank one pension in the forces, which was also endorsed by Modi who said it would have happened had Atal Bihari Vajpayee government returned to power in 2004.

“Our national security has not been given adequate attention. The time has come to change the people who make us (forces) weak,” he added.

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