If one wondered why Congress general secretary Hari Prasad was selling the Prime Minister hard to a gathering of deprived and undereducated tribals in this village of Navsari district it soon became apparent what was afoot.
Manmohan Singh is sought after by world leaders but unlike the empty boasts of some, he never even talks about his tiniest achievement, was the hard sell. Perhaps the poor people were convinced. For, the PM with his trademark politesse but uncharacteristic energy himself hard sold his government and his party to the poor and rural voters of Gujarat here on Sunday.
“We have been getting regular complaints that minorities and a few other segments of society are feeling insecure in the state. Even a few state government officers have filed such complaints, which is very unfortunate for our country," Singh said.
"It is a matter of great regret that such type of an environment has been created in the land of Mahatma Gandhi." It was apparent that the Congress has decided to take the battle for Gujarat to Modi's home turf — his boast that Gujarat was shining for all 6 crore Gujaratis and his USP was that of being a Vikas Purush.
The Prime Minister, enunciating every word in clear Hindi, made a difference between rural and urban Gujarat and between crony capitalism and progress for all. His half-hour speech was a list of the UPA's achievements past and present, including new programmes in the areas of rural health, education, drinking water supply and prevention of malnutrition.
He recited the benefits of the schemes to rural India and made a pitch for the aam aadmi in Gujarat who he said should have benefited from these schemes but has not because the Gujarat government failed to implement them well and even underutilised funds released by the Centre.