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Narendra Modi rakes up Italy again, attacks Rahul

Taunted by Congress that Rahul Gandhi had a national stature while he was a state leader, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took a swipe at the party, saying the young leader was an ‘international leader’ who can also contest elections in Italy.

Raking up the issue of foreign origin of Congress President Sonia Gandhi again, the BJP stalwart, who spent his 62nd birthday on Monday continuing his month-long campaign in poll-bound Gujarat, also said he was proud to be a regional leader of the state.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has steadfastly opposed making Modi a prime ministerial candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections, also greeted his Gujarat counterpart and wished him a long life. The forthcoming Assembly polls is expected to be a new arena for a Modi-Nitish faceoff.

‘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 in Rajkot. ‘I am proud to be a regional leader of Gujarat. Rahul is not a national leader but an international leader and he can contest elections in India as well as in Italy,’ Modi said, once again targeting the Gandhi family over the foreign origin of Rahul’s mother.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi had last week made the comment when he was asked whether the forthcoming election in Gujarat will be a ‘Modi Vs Rahul’ battle. 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. Modi’s birthday was celebrated by the BJP in Bihar with a state minister from the party cutting a cake at its office in Patna. Alleging that the UPA government is deceiving people, Modi criticised the Manmohan Singh government for not fulfilling promises.

‘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.
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