Modi flags off BJP poll campaign with 'India first' slogan

Hyderabad, Aug 11 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Thursday flagged off Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign for 2014 elections with a call to rid the country of the Congress and the slogan of 'India first'.

Addressing a mammoth public meeting, the first after he took over as chairman of BJP's campaign committee, Modi said development was the foundation of his vision of India.

Unveiling his vision of the government, he said its only religion should be 'India first', its mantra should be the Constitution, its belief should be 'Bharat Bhakti', its power should be people's power and its worship should be the welfare of 125 crore people.

Modi ended his 45-minute long address by repeating Barack Obama's famous words 'Yes we can'. He asked the audience to repeat with him "Yes we can. Yes we will do", "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Vande Mataram".

Thousands of people, mostly youth, attended the meeting at L. B. Stadium. It was the first of 100 such meetings planned by BJP in the run-up to polls.

The Gujarat chief minister said the path of development alone can change India's destiny.

"Solution to all our problem lies in development and in the welfare of all sections of people but Congress is not ready to tread on this path," he said.

Modi slammed Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for what he called its all-round failure, corruption and vote bank politics.

Targeting the government for its foreign policy, he came down heavily on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his silence over the killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistani army.

"When five Indian soldiers were beheaded the prime minister had said if such an incident takes place again, we will give fitting reply to Pakistan. This week Pakistani soldiers gun down our men. People are asking the government why Pakistan is continuing the excesses and why this country of 125 crore is silently tolerating," he said.

On the violence in Kishtwar, Modi said this could be a conspiracy to repeat in Jammu what is happening in Kashmir Valley for last three decades. He said the Jammu and Kashmir government stopped BJP leader Arun Jaitley from visiting Kishtwar to suppress the facts.

Modi had a dig at food security bill, saying the Congress had to bring it as it impoverished the people. He said the party was now using the word inclusive growth because it always excluded people from development.

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