FDI in retail: the day after Sonia returned to India from US. Sonia with Jayaswl and Ahmed Patel in Coalgate – Modi

Modi links FDI decision with Sonia’s US visit

by Sanjay Singh 54 mins ago Sept. 28, 2012

Narendra Modi has given a whole new dimension to the FDI in retail and Coalgate controversies, by suggesting a possible link between them and Sonia Gandhi‘s last visit to the United States. He also lashed out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to explain why he has chosen to implement ‘American policies’ right before the US Presidential polls. He was speaking at the BJP National Conclave in Surajkund, Haryana.

Modi tried to touch all the raw nerves laid bare by the Congress. He started with taking potshots at Manmohan Singh‘s performance. He asked why Manmohan Singh chose to become ‘Singham only twice’ in his eight-and-half-year tenure as the PM for issues concerning foreign powers – the nuclear deal in UPA-I and FDI in UPA-II. He added that he was shocked at how adamant Singh was about pursuing FDI in retail, that he was willing to risk giving up the government for it. That, according to Modi, is a sign of ‘foreign pressure’.

Narendra Modi. AFP.

The politician in Modi readily recognised what would go down best with his supporters, and he didn’t disappoint them. To thunderous applause he went on with his UPA bashing. “The country wants to know why he gets active only when there are elections in the US,” he said.

He then followed the PM-bashing up with suggestions that it was not just Singh, but Sonia Gandhi herself, who was busy cosying up to the US. “The decision to allow FDI in retail was taken they very day after Sonia returned to India from the US. This raises several questions,” he said, possibly choosing to overlook the fact that the Congress general secretary and head of media, Janardan Dwivedi, had already issued a statement saying Sonia Gandhi would be going abroad for medical check-up.

The Sonia-bashing did not stop at the FDI issue only. She was dragged into the Coalgate controversy too. “What does the Congress have to say about the pictures of Sonia ji published with coal scam accused Jayaswal and Ahmed Patel in the background?” he demanded.

He cited a news report that appeared in some paper which said that the PM had conveyed to Sonia Gandhi that Ahmed Patel (Sonia’s political secretary) had recommended a few coal block allocations. Though the PMO had issued a denial about the story, Modi rubbished it and stuck to the report’s claims.

He also found serious conspiracies behind the LPG cap set by the government. He said that the government has allowed huge subsidies on beef exports because the country wants to become the biggest exporter in the sector. However, on something as basic as LPG, the UPA was unwilling to relent, alleged Modi.

Interestingly, Modi chose to speak out only at a public rally organised at the conclusion of the three-day National Executive and Council meeting. He chose not to speak at the bigger council meets on the preceding days, where most party leaders are expected to make their statements.

Modi had made a brief appearnce on Wednesday before National Executive, which is way smaller in scale. But he chose to limit himself to talks about how the Centre has sidestepped the Gujarat model to impose rationing on LPG cylinders and how the CBI was being misused by the Centre to tame allies and prosecute political rivals.

Modi’s rhetorical hard hitting speech had its desired impact. It enthused party workers. After all, it came from their own “Hriday Samrat” who they wanted to hear all along.


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