Rewari: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed his first rally after his anointment as the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections in Rewari, Haryana. Former Army chief VK Singh and Olympic gold medalist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also shared the dais with Modi.
While addressing the rally of Army personnel, Modi expressed his gratitude towards them and said that it was a privilege for him to address "such a huge" gathering of former members of the Army.
"I salute the Army and the ex-Army men of India. I bow to the brave soldiers of our nation," Modi said.
Reacting on his anointment as the BJP's PM candidate, Modi said that he accepts the responsibility publicly. "BJP gave me a special responsibility. I didn't know that there would be such a huge announcement on September 13 and soon after that, I got to attend this rally. This is a divine signal."
Modi targeted the central government for lacking in its resolve to tackle terror. He said that the leadership in Delhi does not respect the men in the armed forces. "It is painful to hear ministers giving statements that people join Army to die," Modi said adding that the country needs change in the leadership and needs a stronger leadership.
He also slammed Defence Minister AK Antony's statement in Parliament over LoC killings where he stated that the attacks were by people who had come in Pakistan Army's uniform.
Blaming the UPA government of indulging in vote bank politics, he said that the politicians should take inspiration of secularism from the Indian Army which does not keep a tab on the religion of people in the forces.
He also termed terrorism and naxalism to be a big challenge for India. In a stern message to Pakistan, he said, "You have made India into a battle ground because of terrorism. Initially the war was on the battlefield between soldiers. But when you couldn't defeat our soldiers, you started killing our battlefield between soldiers. But when you couldn't defeat our soldiers, you started killing our innocent soldiers."
He said that Pakistan can only come out of poverty if it sheds off terrorism. "If Pakistan leaves terrorism for 10 years it will come out of poverty. Pakistan can't develop if they continue to oppose India," Modi said.
However, he added that the central government needs to be strong so than any disturbance by the neighbouring countries cannot have an effect on India. "Our neighbouring countries which are troubling us are not doing so because there is a problem with our Army. The real problem is not on the borders, it is in Delhi. The only way to address this problem is to ensure that there is a new government in Delhi.
Modi also congratulated the Indian defence scientists for the successful launch of Agni-V missile on Sunday morning.