Ahmedabad, August 15;Asserting that the nation is “restless” for a change, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, challenging him for a public debate on pressing issues while accusing him of taking a ‘weak’ stance on Pakistan.
Mr. Modi, BJP’s poll campaign committee chief and virtually the party’s face for the next Lok Sabha elections, lashed out at Dr. Singh in his Independence Day speech shortly after the Prime Minister had addressed the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort.
In his extempore speech, an aggressive Mr. Modi criticised Dr. Singh on a range of issues including India’s response to Pakistan and China, corruption, state of country’s economy and food security bill.
“Nation is restless for change,” he said. “You are ruling a big country, we are managing a small state. I challenge the prime minister for a debate on the issue of development and good governance between government sitting in Delhi and our government,” Mr. Modi said in his speech today during the state function on I-Day held at Lalan College ground in Bhuj.
Mr. Modi compared the speech of President Pranab Mukherjee delivered on the eve of Independence Day with that delivered by the Prime Minister on Thursday and criticised the latter for not being tough in his speech on Pakistan.
“The President has expressed his concern on the issue of killing of five of our soldiers. I had expected Prime Minister will raise the same concerns, but he has failed to talk tough,” Mr. Modi said.
Mr. Mukherjee had on Wednesday warned Pakistan that “patience has limits” and all “necessary steps” will be taken to ensure internal security and protect territorial integrity.
Describing the Prime Minister’s speech as a “big disappointment”, Mr. Modi said it was lacklustre and failed to give any inspiration.
“I am wondering that despite your name being included among those people who has unfurled the tricolour on the maximum occasions, you are saying the same things which were said by Pandit Nehru in his first address to our nation.
Mr. Modi said the same problems and concerns are highlighted by Singh today were mentioned by Nehru in his first speech.
“The question arises what did you do for the past 60 years. If the situation has not changed a bit…then what have you done,” he asked.
“Mr Prime Minister, you have referred to former Prime Minister Narsimha Rao while talking about the prevailing economic condition of the country. But I want to ask you that who is responsible for the way our Rupee is getting devalued, the way it is heading towards crisis,” Mr. Modi said lambasting the Prime Minister for the current economic situation.
Assailing the Centre for not taking remedial steps to correct the economic “mess”, he said the least Singh could have done was to have told the nation how he will strengthen the rupee and the steps being taken to revive the economy.
“Instead you blamed it on global recession and said India cannot be left untouched by global recession,” he said.
“The Indian soldiers were killed and some morale boosting talk should had been delivered. I don’t believe Lal Quila (Red Fort) is the right podium to challenge Pakistan, and nor we should waste time in that, but it was an ideal platform to boost the morale of our army personnel,” Modi said.
“This is my feeling.. he (PM) should have boosted the morale of our armymen,” he said.
“On one hand Rashtrapatiji is saying that there should be limit to our patience, but Rashtrapatiji what is the limit for this patience, what is the border line for it, it has to be decided by the Government at Centre,” Mr. Modi said.
“What is the reason that we don’t know.. what is our limit, for how long we are going to keep tolerating, it should be defined. And it is not only the question of Pakistan, today nation’s security is under threat,” he said.
“What China has done? In a free independent India today China comes and puts obstacles on our borders..It establishes itself on our territory…,” he alleged.