Rahul an intl leader, can contest in Italy too: Modi

Rajkot: Taking a jibe at Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said Rahul is just not a national leader but an “international leader” and can contest election in Italy also.

“Recently a Congress leader made a statement that Rahul Gandhi is a national leader of Congress and I am a regional leader. I am happy to be a leader of Gujarat but I do not agree to consider Rahul as national leader,” Modi said, addressing Swami Vivekananda Youth Convention here.

“I am proud to be a regional leader of Gujarat. Rahul is not a national leader but an international leader and he can contest election in India as well as in Italy,” Modi said, once again targeting the foreign origin issue of his mother Sonia Gandhi.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi had last week made the comment when he was asked whether the forthcoming election in Gujarat be “Modi Vs Rahul”. He had said comparison cannot be made as Rahul is Congress’s national leader while Modi is regional leader of Gujarat.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh also yesterday described Modi as a regional leader and Rahul a national one.

Alleging that the UPA government is deceiving people, Modi criticised the Manmohan Singh government for not fulfilling promises made in Congress election manifesto in 2004.

“In 2004, Congress in its manifesto had promised to give job to one crore youths but according to a report issued by the Government of India, Gujarat is the leader in giving jobs with 72 per cent of share,” Modi said addressing a large gathering of youths.

“I want to ask a question to UPA government and its Prime Minister that if you are not able to fulfil your promises then why do you make them…only to deceive people?” he asked.

Incidentally, today is Modi’s 62nd birthday which the leader is celebrating by campaigning in the state for the elections, slated to be held by this year end.

Modi also slammed UPA over FDI in retail in India and said the government’s policy would prove fatal for Indian retailers.

“The UPA’s policy of foreign trading (FDI in retail) in India would prove to be fatal and Gujarat has opposed the policy to ensure the security of retailers in the state,” Modi said.

He also condemned the Prime Minister’s “silence and soft approach” to national issues and said, “In the last eight years, Singh has held his head high only twice, first time while signing the nuclear treaty with the US and second time giving permission to foreign trading in India, and both the times he worked for the benefits of foreign governments.”

On his birthday today, Modi also made several announcements including giving taluka status to Vinchhiya town of Jamnagar district and increasing age restriction from 25 to 28 and 28 to 30 for recruitment in state government offices.

Olympic medallist Gagan Narang, cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Jaydev Shah and BCCI vice president Niranjan Shah were among those present at the youth convention.