Narendra Modi projects himself as protector of India's pride

ModiNarendra Modi addressed his first public rally in the national capital after being anointed the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. (IE Photo)

Addressing his first public rally in the national capital after being anointed the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi on Sunday projected himself as the protector of India's pride, while raising Manmohan Singh's diminished leadership in the wake of remarks by Rahul Gandhi and alleged "insult" by Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.

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He also fashioned the 2014 elections as a contest between a "whimsical shehzada (prince)", implying Rahul, and a "chai bechne wala (tea vendor)" like him, before ending his speech that lasted more than an hour with exhortations of Vande Mataram.

Among those in the massive rally were several diplomats from Russia, Japan, Germany and Spain. Police estimates put the crowd strength at 1.5 lakh.

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At a time when the PM is meeting Sharif, "there is suspicion whether you can hold your head high", Modi said about the PM. "Congress vice-president ne aapki pagdi uchchaal di (demeaned you). Why should Sharif respect you now?" How will Singh assert Indian rights over the PoK, demand dismantling of terror infrastructure in Pakistan or get back "heads of Indian soldiers beheaded by Pakistani armymen", Modi went on.

Going on to attack Sharif, he said: "You do not have the status to call our Prime Minister a 'dehaati aurat'."

Modi used the undermining of Singh's authority to also rip into Rahul, saying the Congress leader had committed a "sin".

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Calling Rahul's public rubbishing of an ordinance approved by the PM and his Cabinet as an "unprecedented" event, he said: "Desh ko tay karna hoga, jab shehzada Pradhan Mantri ki pagdi uchchaal raha ho, loktantra, samvidhaan, sansad aur Cabinet ka apmaan kar raha ho (The country will have to decide, at a time when the prince is insulting the PM, is insulting democracy, the Constitution, Parliament and the Cabinet)."

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