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Modi Targets Rahul, Says He Visits Poor For 'Photo-Ops'

PTI 15 Aug 2011, 19:03:05 IST

Ahmedabad/New Delhi, Aug 15: In a veiled attack on Rahul Gandhi, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said there are people in the country who visit homes of the poor for “photo-ops”.

The Congress rebuffed Modi saying the comments showed how he and the BJP were “highly frustrated” at the mass appeal of the party's youth icon and that the Chief Minister should first set his house in order.

“We understand Modi's and BJP's trepidation when a youth icon of Congress gets support like this. I understand their frustration when they find there is nobody to give leadership to the youths in BJP and the masses, like we have Rahul in Congress,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in New Delhi.

Modi, who once likened Rahul to a “small aquarium fish” said, “in this country, even today, there exist people who feel happy to have a photo-op with the poor.

They feel proud to get their pictures clicked with children of poor in their hands,” Modi said.

Modi made these remarks during his Independence Day address at Nadiad in Kheda, about 55 km from Ahmedabad.

He also held Congress responsible for poverty in the country “despite its over 50 years of rule.”

“They should die of shame as even after over 50 years of their rule in the country, so many people are living below the poverty line. These are monuments of your rule. This is your shame. They are even ready to capitalise on this,” Modi said, slamming the Congress without naming any of its leaders.

Modi also attacked the Union government for allegedly using constitutional bodies to insult Gujarat.

Responding to this, Singhvi said it was Modi who was “demeaning” constitutional authorities. Modi was also allegedly victimising fearless individuals for speaking against him, he said.

“It is Modi, who devalued the Election Commission. Police officers in Gujarat who spoke against him are being browbeaten. Let them not preach. They should set their house in order first,” he said.

Union I and B Minister Ambika Soni said she did not want to comment on the “extra curricular activities” of Modi.

In his Independence Day address, Modi also took a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his comments on the country's agricultural growth.

“PM has expressed concern about the agriculture growth in the country from the Red Fort today. His concern is reasonable,” Modi said.

The growth in agriculture has been stagnant at 2-2.5 per cent since many years, he added.

“Despite good rains, the entire country, its villages, farmers and poor people are still struggling with life,” Modi said, criticising the policies of the UPA government with regard to poverty and agricultural growth.

Yesterday, Modi had accused the Centre of adopting double standards with regard to its fight against corruption and that led by social activist Anna Hazare.

“Look at the double standards of Delhi's Congress government, open your eyes to the larger conspiracy!” he had said on micro-blogging networking site Twitter.

“PM tells Anna (Hazare) to go to police for any complaint...Disciplined behaviour is expected from Anna while to the officers of Gujarat police, who are indulging in indiscipline, the message of the Congress government is ‘do not worry we will protect you',” Modi had tweeted. PTI