New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a strong pitch for his re-election in the next Lok Sabha elections as he launched a scathing attack on the Congress saying it had pushed the country into darkness, bled banks and had created roadblocks to an early judicial solution to the Ayodhya dispute.
Winding up the two-day BJP National Convention, he cautioned people about who they chose as their "pradhan sevak" (principal servant), one who worked 18 hours a day tirelessly and one who would not go on holidays.
In his valedictory address in which he set the tone for the BJP's bid to come back to power again, Modi said he had led a government whose track record was "spotless", which had worked with honesty for all sections, ended despondency, raised people's confidence, accelerated the pace of development and enhanced India's stature.
"For the first time it has happened that there is no allegation of corruption against the government. We can be proud that we have a spotless record," he said.
The Congress files
Modi made several veiled attacks on Rahul Gandhi, saying he had met those who were talking of breaking India, had met the Chinese envoy during the Doklam stand off and had alleged "khoon ki dalali" over surgical strikes.
He said the governments of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and now Chhattisgarh had barred the CBI but he never did so as Gujarat chief minister though the Congress did not leave any opportunity to harass him through probe agencies.
Modi said he faced the SIT questioning for nine hours as chief minister (over the 2002 Gujarat riots) as he had faith in the law, institutions and truth.
"But they are scared of their misdeeds. You have faith on institutions. They do not have faith in the CBI, CAG. Can we hand over the country to them? We have faith in the Constitution, they have on the sultanate," he said.
'What are they hiding?'
Referring to the National Herald case without naming Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, he said members of the "first family" of the Congress were on bail and the case pertained to 2012 when the UPA was in power.
He said they had been repeatedly called by the probe agencies, 44 times overall and six times in six months, but they had not presented themselves.
"We are 'naamdars', how can we go, how can we be asked questions. The fact is that they have problem with truth. What are they hiding? We do not know. People on bail do not respect institutions, what respect they will give to the country. They have faith on 'rajshahi' (feudalism) and we on 'lokshahi' (democracy)," he said.
'Choose with caution'
"Do people want a 'sevak' who provokes family members, steals from the house, distributes the goodies among his family members and talks ill of the family with neighbours, goes on long leave or a sevak who works day and night, works more than the owners of the house and always thinks of their welfare?
"The way you will choose a sevak, you decide what kind of pradhan sevak you want," he said.
A pair of processes
He accused the Congress of disrespecting institutions. "They do not respect the Election Commission, investigating agencies, Supreme Court, even our foreign ministry."
Modi said the Congress had bled the banks as two processes prevailed during its rule for availing -- "common process" and "Congress process".
Tales of betrayal
"Public money had become private wealth," he said. "People's money was given away in loans. The betrayal that Congress did, that needs to be told repeatedly."
He said loans of Rs 18 lakh crore were given by banks from Independence till 2008. "But from 2008 to 2014, loans of Rs 34 lakh crore were given and the total amount went to Rs 52 lakh crore."
He said there were two processes of getting loan -- "common process and Congress process".
In the normal process, people took loans to the tune of Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakh and were required to provide documents, answer all questions and the loan was to be returned.
"In the Congress process, loans were given on a phone call of 'naamdar', no question was asked and more loans were sanctioned to pay the previous loan and then the whole amount was gobbled up.
"It hurt the common man, the poor. The banks were left bleeding. It was a dangerous situation. If I had disclosed it in 2014, it would have caused panic. We gradually changed the rules and ended the Congress process. Earlier thousands of crores were going out, now they are coming back. The insolvency code process has brought back Rs 3 lakh crore. The earlier government would have looted this money," he said.
On repeated roadblocks
Referring to the issue of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, he said Congress sought to create "obstacles" in the judicial process through a party worker who is a lawyer.
"They wanted to impeach Chief Justice of India. Don't let all this be forgotten. We have to repeatedly remind people how they created roadblocks in development."
Referring to Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, he said it is the first time that such a person has been extradited to India.
He said reports in the media about "raazdar" (Michel) have indicated that there was misdoing not only in the helicopter deal but in the deal to purchase fighter jets. "The layers are slowly unfolding. There were middlemen in defence deals earlier."
A word to the pretenders
Modi took a veiled dig at Gandhi over the Rafale deal, saying that he was not prepared to understand the issue.
Referring to an answer given during the debate in Parliament on the issue, he said it had been explained citing an example that a bag filled with different ingredients will have different price. "You can wake up a sleeping person but one who pretends to be asleep when he is awake, nothing can be done."
Modi said he was being abused and conspiracies were being hatched through an ecosystem linked to the Congress.
"Speak lies but the chowkidar is not going to stop. It is just the beginning. Whether it is within the country or outside, chowkidar is not going to spare anyone.
The 'lost' years
He said the Congress had ridiculed Swachh Bharat, efforts to propagate Yoga, GST, Make in India and 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'.
Modi said that ten years of the UPA government were lost in scams and allegations of corruption.
Targeting the Congress which has often accused him of changing the names of its projects, Modi said he had not changed the names of old schemes. He said no initiative of the NDA government including Ayushman Bharat, Sagarmala or Ujjawala is named after him.
He said the "Congress and its allies" had opposed the triple talaq bill, enemy property bill, bill to give constitutional status to OBC commission, Citizenship amendment bill and reservations over NRC.