Modi recalls childhood hardship stories

Ignoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s barbs at him over the 2002 Gujarat riots, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday chose to strike an emotional chord with his audience by recalling the hardships he faced during childhood.

“When people level wild allegations, I turn to look back at my life. I wonder at the greatness of this country and its people, who have lifted a person selling tea on train compartments on their shoulders,” he said in his address at the foundation-day function of yoga exponent Baba Ramdev’s Bharat Swabhiman Trust. Modi appeared to choke when referring to his mother washing utensils and doing household chores at neighbourhood homes to eke out a living.

“There is no place for pessimism in a person who has lived such a life. He does not have to undertake tours to understand the pain of the people,” said Modi in an apparent jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said it would be disastrous for the country if Modi, a person who he alleged had “presided over the mass massacre of innocent citizens in Ahmedabad”, became the prime minister.

On the Lok Sabha elections, Modi said that for the first time the elections have become a people’s movement to remove the government.

He called upon voters to check the credentials of the candidates before voting for them. “Every party should be asked — you want to make a government? Why? For whom? What for? They should answer that first. Earlier, elections were about caste politics. Today they are about development,” he said.

“Don't trust just words; go by a person's track record, not tape record,” he said. Modi also promised review and reform of the taxation system in the country, which he claimed had become a burden on the common man. Modi's remarks assume significance as the BJP has been talking about abolition of taxes in its internal meetings.

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