iconimg Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ejaz Kaiser, Hindustan Times
Rajnandgaon, May 19, 2013
Is Chhattisgarh the next Gujarat? Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi certainly thinks so. And he proclaimed it publicly on Sunday, at chief minister Raman Singh’s vikas yatra in Rajnandgaon, 73 km from Raipur.

Virtually blowing the poll bugle, Modi turned the 2700-km vikas yatra, meant to showcase the state government’s achievements, into an impromptu political rally. Calling for a third term for Singh in the assembly polls to be held later this year, he said, “In the next five years, Chhattisgarh will surpass even Gujarat”.

Lashing out at the Congress, he held it accountable for poverty, illiteracy, inflation, backwardness and failing to live up to the pledges it made to the people by following votebank politics. “When Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh split, both were under Congress rule. But no growth came to Chhattisgarh in the three years that followed. People of the state chose wisely and rejected Congress,” Modi said.

The high praise for Singh was more than what Modi had extended to any other BJP chief minister. Lately, the equation between Modi and Singh has evolved into a more cordial and supportive one.