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Sidhu attacks Modi over Godhra incident


Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu Wednesday said those behind the Godhra incident had no right to question him or talk about patriotism.

The cricketer-turned-politician made the remarks while addressing a rally in Dholka town of Ahmedabad district today.

"Tum Narendra Damodardas Modi, koi Godhra karaane wala Sardar Bhagwant Singh Sidhu ke bete ko sawal nahi kar sakta...rashtrabhakti ki baat nahi kar sakta. (You, Narendra Damodardas Modi...someone behind Godhra (incident) cannot question Sardar Bhagwant Singh Sidhu's son or talk about patriotism)," he said.

The Punjab minister was referring to the incident that occurred on the morning of 27 February 2002, in which 59 people died in a fire inside the Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station. The incident triggered violence and large-scale riots across Gujarat. Modi was then the chief minister of the state.

Responding to Sidhu's criticism of Modi, who was in Gujarat to address rallies on Wednesday, state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said the opposition party should make Sidhu a minister in the Pakistani government.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also slammed Sidhu over his remarks against Modi.

"We all know about Sidhu's drama during his recent Pakistan visit. He is acting like a dalal (broker) of Pakistan because of his friendship with Imran Khan (Pakistan PM)," Rupani told reporters.

During his speech, Sidhu further accused Modi of not doing anything for the common people and working only for select industrialists.

"What did you do for the youth and farmers? What happened to your promise of doubling the farmers' income. In fact, you could not even give them water to drink. On the other hand, you gave lakhs and crores of rupees to Adanis and Ambanis," Sidhu, who is one of the star campaigners of the Congress, said.

"How can you talk about patriotism? You gave eight lakh jobs, but 25 lakh government posts are still vacant. People neither got Lord Ram nor employment," he added.

In his address, Sidhu also said this Lok Sabha election was a battle between Lord Krishna and Kans, Ram and Ravan, and Godse and Gandhi.

He lambasted Modi over the Rafale deal, unemployment and farmer issues, and also dared the PM to have a debate with him.

"China is building a railway line beneath the sea. US is finding life on Mars. Russia is trying to build an army of robots. And what is India doing? We are making a 'chowkidar' who is actually a 'chor' (thief). I am telling you that you are indeed a thief," Sidhu.

"You always talk about nationalism. Then listen Mr. Modi. This is a battle between Lord Krishna and Kans. This is a battle between Ram and Ravan. And, this is a battle between Godse and Gandhi," he added.

The Punjab minister accused Modi of dividing the nation.

"Our Constitution says there should not be any discrimination on the basis of caste, colour and creed. It also says that no one should be subjected to discrimination on the basis of religion. But you are trying to divide the nation. And still you are claiming that you are a nationalist! What kind of nationalism is this?" Sidhu asked.

"Instead of talking about mandir and masjid, we should talk about unemployment, farmers and poor people. But do you discuss these issues? You are just diverting people's attention from these key issues. You always speak lies. I challenge you to have a debate with me on these issues," he added.

On the Rafale deal, the Congress leader said although Modi assumed office in 2014 as 'Ganga ka lal' (son of Ganga), he will have to vacate the office as 'Rafale ka dalal' (middleman of Rafale).

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, April 17 2019. 21:25 IST