Making "save jawan, save kisan" his slogan, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Saturday spoke to two political constituencies (soldiers and farmers) in one go.
In a Lok Sabha election rally here on Saturday, he accused the country's Congress government of rolling out the red carpet for Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif when his army was beheading Indian soldiers on the border. Eyeing Chandigarh's huge vote bank of ex-servicemen, he tried to rouse its sentiments by saying that the Centre was "just not moved by this hostile act of the neighbor".
A packed gathering chanted "Modi, Modi", as the Gujarat chief minister also raised the touchy issue of "one rank, one pension" rule, asking: "What took the government so long to implement it? Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said he had fulfilled the promise within three days, while the demand was pending for years.
The union budget that set aside Rs 500 crore for 'one rank, one pension' was a bunch of false promises."
'Will grow money on farmlands'
In his 45-minutes address, he also tried to tap into the agrarian vote bank of Punjab and Haryana by raising the issue of farmers who were ending their lives under economic distress. "Soldiers are being killed on the border and more farmers committing suicides inside the country," said Modi, claiming: "In the BJP regime, we'll not let jawans and kisans die."
Referring to a comment from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that money did not grow on trees, Modi said he would grow money on farmlands and make farmers rich.
'Cong fooling us'
Referring to the railgate scam, in which the nephew of former railway minister and local parliamentarian Pawan Kumar Bansal is an accused, he regretted that the Congress had brought Bansal back as candidate from Chandigarh after dropping him from the union cabinet. "What does it mean? The Congress is fooling people," said Modi. "In democracy, being voted out is a norm, but this government is a threat and a burden," he said, raising the slogan: "Congress-free, corruption-free."
"Shahzada (prince, referring to Rahul Gandhi) says I am not a person but an ideology. I accept. For us, ideology is bigger than personalities and nation bigger than ideology," said Modi, making a barb at Rahul.
'More informed than Kirron'
Recalling his stint in Chandigarh as BJP in-charge in the late 1990s, he said his political education would have been incomplete without that experience. "The BJP's prime ministerial candidate knows the city better than its parliamentary nominee (Kirron Kher)," said Modi.
Scene changing, says Sukhbir
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said his Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was a firm ally of the BJP and the two parties were as brothers. "In 67 years of independence, the Congress ruled the country for almost 50 years but now regional parties reign in most states," he said.
Soldiers are dying on the border and farmers inside the country. In the BJP regime, we'll not let it happen: Narendra Modi, BJP prime ministerial candidate