Mumbai: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has sparked off yet another row. He has questioned former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's secular credentials. "Indira Gandhi had committed a big sin, I will just speak of one as she committed many of them. Known for her secular inclination, when she was contesting polls in the northeast, the Congress party mentioned in their manifesto that if they win then they will bring in such a rule synonymous to that in the Bible. Can you imagine that if such is the stance while you are running the country then separatist forces would be in such high advantage; back then no one questioned her secularism," Modi said addressing an awards function in Mumbai.
Modi said India's North East has a rich history of people who fought for the freedom from the British but claimed they were never honoured after the Independence.
"Had their sacrifices been recorded and generations that followed read about them, what would have happened to a particular family for whom history has been changed," Modi alleged without naming the Nehru-Gandhi family.
The Congress has hit back at Modi for the comment. Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "Modi's comments on Indira Gandhi are unfortunate. The whole world respects Indira ji."
Modi on Monday also attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accusing him of failing on the economic front to arrest the decline of Rupee vis-a-vis US Dollar.
He alleged Singh had stopped making budgetary provisions for uranium exploration in North East after he had become the Finance Minister in 1991.
"Before 1991, these budgetary provisions used to be made. However, they were stopped after Singh became the Finance Minister. Later, when he became the Prime Minister, he ensured the policies were such that this (uranium exploration) would be done by the USA," Modi alleged.
Modi said nuclear power was said to be safe and economically-viable and North East was the only place in the country where uranium is available in some quantity.
He said the Prime Minister has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha for several years "but it was only in 2008 that he thought of a vision document for North East."
Accusing the UPA government of "lacking vision and planning for development", Modi said had the Centre thought of setting up hydro power projects in North East, electricity shortage in the country could have been minimised to a great extent.
"Water would have been an asset in North East and the economy would have thrived," he said.
Modi said it was during NDA rule that a separate ministry for North East was created. "Had the Vajpayee government lasted longer, it would have fulfilled the incomplete task of Sardar Patel of integrating North East into national mainstream," he said.
Modi said he had at a conference of chief ministers in Delhi suggested that 200 police jawans from each North East state be sent on deputation to Gujarat for two years.
"They would have got exposure to the rest of the country outside North east and this would have strengthened the bond of the people. Inflow of tourists from Gujarat to North East would have grown. But my suggestion is still to be implemented despite all other chief ministers agreeing that my suggestion was good," he said.
Modi charged the Centre with neglecting the development of border areas. "Ignoring it is an invitation to disaster. In the Rann of Kutch, it is very difficult to provide mobile telephones to BSF jawans because of the connectivity from Pakistan. I have taken up the issue with the Centre several times that why this can't be stopped with technology and satellites. It looks like they (Centre) can't think of doing good work,"he said.
(With additional information from PTI)