Addressing the ‘Fateh rally’ here, Modi expressed his concern over the drug menace eating up youngsters in Punjab, called Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal his “political guru”, and said there was no truth in reports of displacement of Sikh farmers from Kutch area of Gujarat. “No Sikh farmer will go out of Gujarat and if any officer dares to do any mistake, that officer will have to leave but not my Sikh brothers,” he said.
He said, “Gujarat is as much for any other Indian as it is for me and I owe a lot to my Punjabi farmers who are settled in Kutch. They are the ones who have made that barren land fertile. So one should stop listening to the rivals (Congress) who are misguiding you on this issue.”
In an effort to strike a chord with the large farming community in the state, the Gujarat CM said, “If chosen to power, we will divide the Food Corporation of India (FCI) into three parts — procurement, management and distribution. This is the only way to get optimum utilisation of the foodgrain which are at the moment being destroyed by being kept in the open or are rotting in the warehouses. In order to make the economy of any country strong, one needs to have three pillars of equal strength: one-third each for agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors,” he said.
The BJP president Rajnath Singh said, “The NDA government will be implementing farmer income insurance scheme once it comes to power whereby MSP will be announced much before sowing of a crop. A separate channel only on agriculture, a separate budget on agriculture, easy loans at 1-2% rate of interest for self-employment schemes and much more will be in the offing.”
Showering praise on Badal, Rajnath said, “Parkash Singh Badal was the first NDA partner to support Modi’s name as PM”, to which Badal responded, “So he (Modi) should now be called as NDA’s prime ministerial candidate, rather than the BJP’s alone.”
The three-hour rally, held on the Jagraon Sugar Mill grounds, attracted thousands from across the state and during Modi’s one-hour speech the audience remained in their seats although the programme was running behind schedule.
Modi did not forget to target Congress, calling it “the ABCD of corruption’’ while Badal said the coming elections were a jang-e-azadi (struggle for independence) to get the masses freed from the clutches of corruption of Congress leaders. Targeting Rahul Gandhi over ‘one rank, one pension’ issue, Modi said, “The UPA government announced this in their last budget and not in the previous nine budgets. So it is a mere drama, but it will be formally implemented by ‘patriots’ like us when we will come to power in a few months.”
Rahul is scheduled to attend a function of ex-servicemen on the issue in Chandigarh Monday.