Mehsana: Ahead of the 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday started his election campaign with a strong message against the Centre. Criticising the Congress, Modi said the CBI is being used to target him.
With Vikenanda Yuva Vikas Yatra, the Chief Minister hit the campaign trail early as the Assembly elections will be a key to determine the prospect of Modi both in Gujarat and in national politics.
The yatra began in Mehsana district of North Gujarat, Modi's home turf and his core constituency. If the choice of venue was predictable so was his political message.
"I am raising my voice against the behaviour meted out to Gujarat. We Gujaratis are not dependent on anybody's mercy. Do you want that there are protests against Manmohan Singh when he comes to Gujarat? This is not democracy," said Modi.
Those messages are a classic Modi political maneuver to convert the controversies he faces into electoral strengths. The rally begins in the midst of the focus on fake encounter cases in which several IPS officers and Modi's close aide and the state's former junior home minister have been named as accused.
The Congress has also asked for protests wherever Modi is campaigning. But it's clear that they will have to do much more than just protest, if they have to stop Modi from marching ahead.