appears to have given poll-bound Assam a weapon to beat the Congress with.
Addressing a rally near Guwahati on Wednesday, senior BJP leader LK Advani declared his support for the Gandhian social worker on fast-unto-death in New Delhi for an anti-graft bill. Barely 24 hours later, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi likened Hazare’s movement to Jayprakash Narayan’s stir against Emergency.
Addressing a BJP rally at Golokganj, a town bordering Bangladesh 300 km west of Guwahati, Modi played on the locals’ dread of being outnumbered by Bangladeshi infiltrators. He attributed the influx to the "kind of corruption only the Congress is capable of" and underscored why India should rally behind Hazare.
Modi fired the first salvo at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who addressed a Congress rally almost simultaneously at Barpeta, 150 km west of Golokganj. "It is really unfortunate for the PM to say people instigated Hazare to launch his satyagraha," he said, equating the UPA with Indira Gandhi's Congress government during Emergency.
"Corruption reached its peak during Indira Gandhi's rule in 1975, and opposition-ruled Gujarat was victimized along with Tamil Nadu. Jayprakash Narayan supported a wave of protests in my state and subsequently launched a nationwide protest that saw Indira Gandhi being arrested and stripped of her Lok Sabha membership by a ruling of the Allahabad High Court," Modi said.
"Hazare today what Jayprakash Narayan was then, and the Supreme Court is doing what the Allahabad High Court had done then," Modi said, urging Sheila Dixit's Delhi government not to view Hazare as an enemy of the state for raising his voice against corruption.
The Gujarat CM also exhorted the people of Assam to launch a movement against corruption. "If you do, you will get rid of price rise and poverty that the Congress has given you and move towards developmentt," he said before flying off to address two more rallies.
The PM too moved from Barpeta to Sipajhar 95 km east, avoiding any reference to Hazare or the Jan Lokpal Bill. Instead, he appealed to the people to give the Congress another shot at power for total development of Assam.