Bangalore: “I can see saffron waves rising from across the region. What a delightful sight!” Narendra Modi said as he began his hour-long address at a rally in Bangalore today.
The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate had reasons to be optimistic. Karnataka is the only state in south India that his party has ever ruled, losing it to Congress in May this year.
In his speech at Bangalore’s sprawling Palace Grounds, Mr Modi continued with his attack on the Congress, alleging that conspiracies were being hatched against him by the Centre.
“These days attacks on the BJP and Modi are sharpening. The sight today explains why. They simply cannot digest it,” the 63-year-old leader said.
65 per cent of the country’s population is below the age of 35, Mr Modi said, adding that the BJP wanted them to contribute to India’s development.
“For Congress, the youth are just voters but for us they are power. Our priority is to empower the youth to make India strong. This is our dream,” he said.
Mr Modi also congratulated Sachin Tendulkar and Professor CNR Rao on being honoured with the Bharat Ratna.
Mr Modi was handed over a cheque of Rs. 35 lakh for the installation of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue in Gujarat, a project backed by the 63-year-old leader.
The Gujarat Chief Minister was accompanied by the BJP president Rajnath Singh, Karnataka’s former chief minister Sadananda Gowda and senior leaders from the state Jagadish Shettar and Ananth Kumar at the rally.
In his speech, Rajnath Singh attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for calling Mr Modi a ‘maut ka saudagar’ (merchant of death) during the 2004 general elections for his alleged role in failing to control the Gujarat riots of 2002.
Unprecedented security arrangements were made for the rally with over 4000 policemen deployed and 80 CCTV cameras installed at the venue.
Bangalore was plastered with Mr Modi’s pictures and life-size cutouts; the BJP had reportedly spent Rs. 20 crores on the event. The party claimed nearly three lakh people had bought tickets at Rs. 10 each for today’s rally.