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Narendra Modi attacks Congress over Kashmir policy in first big rally after being appointed BJP poll panel chief

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Jun 23, 2013 at 07:25pm IST

Pathankot: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday lashed out at the Congress government's policy over Kashmir, while addressing his first mega rally after being anointed as the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) poll panel chief. The Gujarat Chief Minister said Kashmir would have developed and prospered under former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's leadership.

"I believe that if Atal Behari Vajpayee's government was re-elected in 2004, villages in Kashmir would have prospered," he said. He even said that justice would have been done to Kashmiri pandits under Vajpayee's leadership.

Often described by critics as a divisive figure, Modi sought to portray himself as a leader who unifies, saying he would work for bringing parties and hearts together. He attacked the UPA government over its Kashmir policy, economy and national security, saying it has failed on all fronts.

"Vajpayee had sought to win over the heart of Kashmir with compassion, love and dialogue...Had he been elected to power in 2004, he would have succeeded in his Kashmir policy," he said. Kashmiri youths were aspiring for development and progress and they needed to be connected with the national mainstream.

"The youths in Kashmir valley want to be part of development. Guns can spill blood but will do no good to one's life," he told the Sankalp rally on the occasion of party founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee's 60th death anniversary. He said, "Atal Bihari Vajpayee played a great role in addressing the Kashmir issue...If NDA would have formed the government in 2004, the Kashmir issue would have been resolved. Kashmiri Pandits would have got justice. Youth of J&K would have been employed and the state would have seen development."

Invoking Mookerjee's slogan against two heads in one system, he said a similar situation exists today, referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "There are two bosses in the country and we do not know who of the two is genuine," he said. Speaking of the rapid slide in the rupees' value against dollar, he said Congress was competing with rupees as to who could fall more.

Asking the people to vote out the Congress-led UPA government, Modi said, "Your (people's) future is not safe in their hands...we cannot play with the future of our youth". He also took a dig at the advertising campaign run by the UPA government on various TV channels on flagship Bharat Nirman programme to highlight its achievements.

"The advertisement said 'bharat ke nirman pe haq hai mera' (I have a right to India's development). I said 'bharat nirman pe shaq hai mera' (I have doubt over India's development)," he said in an dig at UPA government. Modi said during the past ten days this campaign, on which crores of rupees had been spent, was not running and had been stopped after he expressed doubts over its claims.

The Prime Minister must explain as to what he did after Sarabjeet Singh died in Pakistan on May 2 after he was fatally attacked by inmates in prison, Modi said. He should explain as to why his government was treating the then Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to a lavish lunch in Jaipur within days of the incident and weeks after Indian soldiers were beheaded by Pakistanis near Line of Control, Modi said.

Modi said he was saddened by the plight of the people of flood-ravaged Uttarakhand and said the people of the country were behind those who had been devastated by the natural tragedy. Modi, who had visited the flood affected areas of Uttarakhand yesterday, reached out to the people affected by the calamity saying, "I felt the grief after listening to painful tales of survivors rescued from Uttarakhand."

He recalled the bonds he shares with Punjab, which were formed when he was here as BJP's in-charge for Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir. He also mentioned his close relationship with the Punjab Chief Minister.

He said he had worked closely with former Deputy Prime Minister, late Devi Lal and former Haryana Chief Minister, late Bansi Lal. The rally was attended by BJP's ally in Punjab, ruling Shiromani Akali Dal's leaders, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The others present included senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar and various MLAs and MPs.

Jan Sangh founder Mookerjee had held his last public meeting here in 1953 before entering Jammu and Kashmir without a permit, which was mandatory then. He was arrested and died in detention on June 23, 1953.

The 18-feet-high statue of Mookerjee was unveiled by senior BJP leader LK Advani and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat on March 20, 2010 and the venue was named 'Ekta Sthal'. Badal and Shanta Kumar also addressed the rally.

(With Additional Inputs From PTI)

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