AHMEDABAD/LAXMANGARH(Sikar): Vowing to clean Indian politics within five years if voted to power, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Monday said he would put all politicians with criminal backgrounds behind bars without any discrimination.
"There is a lot of discussion these days on how to stop criminals from entering politics. I have a cure and I have vowed to clean Indian politics... all I need is people's support," Modi said in a virtual rally, beamed to around 100 locations in 15 states.
Modi said special courts monitored by the Supreme Court would be set up and all councillors, panchayat heads, legislators and MPs will go through a screening process and those with criminal backgrounds will be prosecuted in a time-bound manner.
"The cases will be disposed within a year and I am positive that after five years of our rule, the system will be absolutely clean and all criminals will be behind bars," he said. "I promise there will be no discrimination and I won't hesitate to punish culprits from my own party," he added.
Earlier, addressing a rally in Laxmangarh, Rajasthan, Modi asserted that an NDA government under him would set up an accountability panel to probe corruption under UPA and punish those found guilty.
"We shall set up an accountability committee to look into embezzlement of funds during the UPA regime and harshest punishment will be ensured to the culprits," Modi vowed at a big rally, escalating his already intense fight with Congress.
As Congress steps up its offensive against him, Modi has sought to more than match the aggression. With trends fortifying his status as the frontrunner for the country's top political job, he has been increasingly belligerent, especially in the wake of Congress's accusation that he withheld the fact about his marriage.
Besides Modi, his colleagues have also promised action against those allegedly responsible for corruption under UPA, with Uma Bharti asserting that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra could be sent to jail for making illicit profits from land deals facilitated by Congress governments.
The bellicosity was on full display on Monday. In a speech marked by aggressive jibes at Congress, Modi stressed that it was Sonia who called the shots in the UPA regime, with PM Manmohan Singh enjoying no real power. "Today is the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar, who wrote our Constitution. That Constitution empowers every citizen to speak freely but the country's current prime minister can't. Sonia and Rahul should explain to this nation why they robbed the country's prime minister's fundamental right," he said, drawing applause from an enthusiastic crowd.
The applause was louder when Modi, invoking the martial traditions of the Shekhawati region in which the rally was held, accused Sonia of promoting Rahul's career at the expense of national interest. "Mothers in Shekhawati sacrifice their sons for the safety of Bharatmata (mother India) but one mother in Delhi is desperately trying to sacrifice the country's interest for her son," he said.
Modi said the Congress was getting panicky and as a result, was forced to seek support of others against its principal opponent. "Normally, parties ally against the ruling dispensation. But for the first time, Congress is asking others to join them to stop BJP from forming government, which is self explanatory about the verdict," he said.
He said Congress leaders were citing "secularism" only as a shield to avoid talking about issues like corruption and non-performance. "Ask Congress leaders about unemployment, corruption and poverty and they have just one issue to talk about. And that is secularism. But people understand what is going on and the verdict will expose that their assumptions were highly misplaced," he said.
Praising Ambedkar, Modi said the Constitution authored by him had so empowered a "chaiwala" that he was getting warmth and affection across the country.