By the editors
Narendra Modi, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the upcoming general elections, held a rally in the North-Eastern state of Assam today. He donned the region’s traditional headdress and jacket and addressed issues of security, development, immigrants from neighboring nations and border disputes.
Photo credit: Press Trust of India
He alleged a scathing attack at the current United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, touching particular note as the current Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, runs on one of the seven Rajya Sabha seats from Assam. “The Prime Minister of the country is an MP from Assam, but what has he done to redress their grievances? I am not your MP or MLA, but there is no district of Assam that I have not visited and am aware of all your problems,” he said.
On economics he continued with his rhetoric on Gujarat as a shining model, and proposed development in the region. “Both Assam and Gujarat have rich reserves of gas and petroleum, but it is in Gujarat that there is a petroleum university where many Assamese students go to study,” he said. “I have dreams of setting up a petroleum university in Assam and an AIIMS-like institute in the Northeast.”
He addressed territory disputes particularly around the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh which borders China. “No power on earth can snatch away Arunachal Pradesh,” he said. “Times have changed. The world does not welcome the mindset of expansion in today’s times. China will also have to leave behind its mindset of expansion.”
He also spoke of concerns with Bangladesh and migrants coming across the India-Bangladesh border and detention camps being set up, while appealing to religious sentiments. “We have a responsibility toward Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries. Where will they go? India is the only place for them. Our government cannot continue to harass them. We will have to accommodate them here,” he said.
“Bangladesh is next to Assam, while Pakistan is next to Gujarat. Assam is harassed by Bangladesh whereas Pakistan is bothered by me,” he said. “You have to decide whether you will continue to tolerate Bangladeshi harassment or put an end to it. I have come to you for your answer. Trust me and as soon as we come to power we will take immediate steps to redress these problems and ensure that justice prevails.”
The Gujarat Chief Minister’s next rally will be on February 23 in Jagraon, Punjab.
Watch the full speech from today, in hindi here: Narendra Modi’s Speech in Silchar, Assam