For whom should I be corrupt, asks Modi

Sujanpur (Himachal Pradesh), Feb 16: Taking on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for “its failure to check corruption”, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Sunday asserted that “person like me who does not have any family bond can only fight it (corruption)”.

“Black money stashed abroad belongs to the people of India. These people (Congressmen)have looted the poor and put money there,” Modi said at a public rally here in Hamirpur district, 175 km from Shimla.

“If the Congressmen are not corrupt then what is the problem in getting back the black money. If we need freedom from corruption, we need freedom from the corrupt,” he said.

“And for whom should I be corrupt… I have nothing… This mind and body is totally devoted to the nation.”

In a bid to woo salaried class, Modi said: “On coming to power, we will bring back black money and deposit it in the public exchequer. We will disburse a percentage of it among salaried people, who have been honestly depositing the income tax,” he said.

Taking on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the Telangana issue, Modi said: “The Congress is indulging in divisive politics. It’s doing ‘zeher ki kheti’ (sowing seeds of poison on Telangana).”

The Congress has chosen to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh and create a new Telangana state.

“The whole of Andhra Pradesh is burning. The way it (Congress) wants to create Telangana, neither Telangana is happy nor Seemandhra,” he said in an hour-long speech.

Modi expressed confidence that the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) would form the next government at the centre, and added: “Our agenda is National Development Alliance.”

On price rise, he said: “The (central) government promised to reduce price rise within 100 days. Have the high prices came down? Has any Congress leader given any reply (in this regard).”

Like price rise, corruption is ruining the nation, he said. “The nation needs freedom from corruption.”

Accompanied by the party’s national president Rajnath Singh, Modi said the Congress leaders were least bothered about the common man.

Recalling the contributions of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the state, he said: “When Atal-ji was the prime minister, the apple growers of the state were getting remunerative prices for their produce.”

“Now, the apple growers from Himachal are not getting good prices. But the apple imported from foreign countries is getting good prices,” said Modi, donning a Himachali cap for the occasion.

Reaching out to ex-servicemen, a major vote bank in the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency, Modi said: “It’s a land of warriors and martyrs. I welcome the ex-servicemen who joined the BJP. It’s the party where there is no membership, but there is relationship.”

Taking a jibe at Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Modi said: “The PM (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) says money does not grow on trees but your own CM (chief minister) became 14 times richer with money from trees.”

The Gujarat chief minister said that sadly a country with a population of 1.25 billion has failed to make a mark at the international level.

“Our soldiers are beheaded. I have seen soldiers in the Kargil war. I have seen their bravery. They are ready to sacrifice, but our neighbours keep on pressurizing us,” he said.

IANS