In his first public rally in Mumbai after he was elected India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi did what he does best. He played the development card and urged citizens to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promising that the party would change the face of the metropolis if it wins the upcoming state assembly polls.
(C) Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Nitin Gadkari on his right, and Devendra Fadnavis and Ramdas Athawale on his left at Mahalaxmi Racecourse yesterday. pic/SAYYED SAMEER ABEDI
He started off his speech at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in chaste Marathi but refrained from talking about the Shiv Sena. Taking a dig at the Congress, he said, “Mumbai is the place where BJP was born. It’s very rare in the history of democracy that such a young party has grown at such a fast pace. If one analyses the work done by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government over the last 15 years, I needn’t tell you who you should vote for.”
He claimed that the Congress hadn’t learnt any lessons from its dismal defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. He said, “It seems as if right now Congress leaders are competing among themselves for who can badmouth me more. It seems they have forgotten the past. It’s hardly five months since they lost. Now it’s time to show them again.”
Refusing to talk about religion, Modi said that he wanted to focus on the issue of development.
“We have fought a lot on religion, caste and languages. The youth wants development, but the people who ruled for 15 years forgot to cater to these issues. Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (support by all, progress for all), this slogan is doing the rounds even in America. If we come into power here, we will complete the Navi Mumbai airport project and improvise the suburban railway network. Mumbai needs to decide who should come into power in Maharashtra.”
He lambasted the Congress and claimed that Congress has no right to ask him what he has done in the last 60-days.
Mumbai and its slums remained a major part of Modi's speech. He said, “I want to change the lives of Mumbaikars. I want to work for the poor. I have a dream for the slum dwellers. In 2022, when India celebrate its 75th anniversary, I want all slum dwellers to have their own home.”