Bharuch (Gujarat): Ruling out differences between himself and senior party colleague LK Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the media of playing into the hands of the ruling Congress and sensationalising news.

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Addressing a rally here on Monday as part of Advani's 'Jan Chetna Yatra', he  reacted to reports of friction between him and the BJP veteran and said these had been created by the media during its coverage of the Yatra on Sunday.

"It is all a handiwork of the media barons," Modi said, in the presence of Advani whom he accompanied in the specially-configured bus throughout the Yatra on Sunday and on Monday to drive home the point that all was well between the two.

He was reacting to reports that there were cold vibes between him and Advani, both said to be in the race for the Prime Minister's post, despite his welcoming him in Vapi with garland.

Rebutting the news of rift, the Gujarat CM also referred to Monday's newspaper photographs of the vacant chair between him and Advani in yesterday's meeting in Vapi as proof of their differences, and said the chair "remained vacant because state party president R C Faldu was delivering his speech."

"There is a visible major rift because the chair between Anant Kumar and Advaniji was empty. If Modi is standing to deliver his speech, then his chair would obviously be empty.”

"All the national dailies had a big story about the chair between Anant Kumar and Advaniji being empty.  What has happened.  May be just as we add spice to bland food, similarly media sensationalising things," he said.

"Media liked creating a controversy," Modi said lamenting that the media barons were "playing into the hands of certain Congress leaders who were working behind the scenes for planting such news items which were untrue."

"Even if I am not in the newspaper headlines or TV screens, I have found a place in the hearts of the people," Modi told the crowds which roared in applause.

Modi praised Advani's long innings in politics, saying they have been "marked by commitment and sacrifice." "The yatra is relevant and beneficial" for the state, he said.

Accusing the UPA government of trying to suppress the anti-graft agitation, Modi said, "Did Anna Hazare begin the agitation against corruption for some position or to become the Prime Minister?

"No. He did not even want to become the sarpanch of his village Ralegaon Siddhi. But the Congress put him in jail for raising voice against corruption," he said.

"The other name of corruption is Congress. The 'C' in the Congress stands for the 'C' in corruption...Till you rid the nation of the Congress, you will not be able to end corruption in the country," Modi said.

He also blamed Congress for "nepotism and favouritism" leading to dismal performance of Indian sportspersons in international events.

"One of the main reasons why we don’t perform well despite being 120 crore-strong nation is lack of transparency in selections, nepotism, favouritism and corruption by Congress," he said.

Attributing the growth and development in his state to "rejection" of Congress by the people, he said, "We have decided not to bow to corruption and the corrupt. That is why everyone in the country acknowledges the speedy progress we have made and the strength we have acquired."

Addressing the rally, he accused Congress of trying to shield Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, who facing charges of tax evasion. Speaking at the rally L K Advani attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for saying that inflation was a sign of the country's growing prosperity.

"The Prime Minister is saying that inflation is the result of prosperity in the country. I consider it insensitivity to people's woes," Advani said.

The BJP veteran said people did not understand the economist PM's references to Gross Domestic Product growth as for a poor man the GDP meant "gas, diesel and petrol".

"The PM keeps talking of GDP growth but the poor don't understand this jargon. For them GDP is Gas, Diesel and Petrol," Advani said.

He said the nation will teach the UPA a lesson as it had done to Indira Gandhi post Emergency.

"People of the country will now teach the Congress a lesson just as they had taught Indira Gandhi's government a lesson for clamping an emergency in India.”

Describing Modi as "phenomenal", Advani said the Gujarat CM had given a corruption free government in the state which was a "model for other states to follow".

Modi called Advani's innings in politics as one marked by "commitment and sacrifice".

The BJP stalwart who is close to winding up the second phase of his yatra, also called upon the Joint Parliamentary Committee probing the 2G Spectrum scam to look into all aspects of the case.

"The JPC should look into all aspects of the 2G scam. If politics is not clean, corruption is bound to be there," he said.

(Agencies)