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Modi in mind, PM says BJP pretends to be secular

Eijaz Kaiser, Hindustan Times  Raipur (Chhattisgarh), November 09, 2013
First Published: 15:54 IST(9/11/2013) | Last Updated: 20:13 IST(9/11/2013)

Apparently having Narendra Modi's unrelenting attacks on against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in mind, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hit back at BJP, saying use of "bad" language against political rivals did not bring any dignity to the saffron party.

"While criticising opposition parties, we have to distinguish ourselves, especially from the BJP some of whose leaders use bad language against other leaders," Singh told a Congress workers' function in Chhattisgarh on Saturday.

BJP's prime ministerial candidate has been referring to Rahul as "shahzada (prince) and Sonia as "madam". He has drawn flak for employing seemingly pejorative references for political opponents in his speeches.

"But to achieve the goal, no party should follow the route of cheap publicity. Some senior opposition leaders are saying things which are not based on facts," Singh said.

He also said that on many occasions, "over-excited BJP leaders change history and geography of the country", possibly referring to Modi's speech at Patna rally, where he said Biharis had defeated Alexander among other historically wrong facts.        

"People are aware that parties that talk big are not capable of coming to power...we should alert the people about parties who have communal ideology but are talking about secularism to mislead people," he said.

Like Sonia and Rahul, he too attacked the BJP-ruled government in the state for failing to contain Maoist violence and not making good use of the central government funds.

Without naming Modi,  Singh said the BJP leader praised Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh as a sensitive person but failed to point out security lapses that led to brutal killing of several Congress leaders in the ambush in Bastar.

"People are unsafe and development remain stalled in Maoist-affected areas", he lamented.

He used an avalanche of "facts and figures" to explain how the UPA's record of development was better than the NDA, referring to several popular schemes like MNREGA, Food Security Act, midday meal scheme and right to education.

He compared the economic growth under the UPA and NDA regimes, a comparison that had triggered a bitter war of words between the Congress and the BJP, saying compared to the growth rate of 5.4% during the NDA rule, the country's economy grew at an average of 8% during the nine years of UPA rule.

He also said more people came out of poverty during the UPA rule than during the last decade. In addition, he said the country made big strides in increasing agriculture and power production.

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