Was Congress running country or Christian Michel’s empire: PM Modi in Odishahttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/narendra-modi-odisha-jharkhand-project-launch-congress-farmers-loan-waiver-rafale-augustawestland-case-5524612/

Was Congress running country or Christian Michel’s empire: PM Modi in Odisha

Earlier in the day, Modi took a dig at the Congress for "misleading" farmers in the name of loan waiver and said the party considered them merely a "vote bank".

narendra modi, pm modi, modi in odisha, modi in jharkhand, rafale deal, agustawestland deal, chopper case, congress, rahul gandhi, farmers loan waiver
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Jharkhand on Saturday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday raked up the AgustaWestland and Rafale deals to launch a stinging attack on Congress. Referring to Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal, PM Modi said he often wondered if the Congress was running the country or Michel’s empire during the UPA regime.

Samajh nahi aata ki Congress ne sarkar chalayi hai ya apne Michel mama ka darbaar chalaya hai. Mai aaj spasht kar dena chahta hu, desh ke bajaay bichauliyo ke hiton ki raksha mein jis-jis ki bhumika rahi hai, unka poora hisaab jaanch agency karengi, desh ki janta karegi (I am unable to understand if Congress had run the country or Michel’s empire. Instead of the country, you were worried about the middlemen. I wish to make it clear today: The investigative agencies and the citizens of the country will take care of that),” Modi, who also inaugurated a slew of projects worth Rs 4,500 crore at Baripada, said.

Alleging that Michel shared close relations with Congress leaders, the PM said the party functionaries had enough knowledge about defence files. Targetting Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over his incessant ‘chowkidaar’ barb, Modi said, “The thief always wants the ouster of the watchman.”

Modi also said that there was a conspiracy to weaken the country’s defence forces during 2004-2014 and the revelation of facts was now “paining” the Congress leaders. “This also pains them (Congress leaders) because their secrecy is now coming to the fore,” Modi said.

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BJP Party supporters wearing Prime Minister Modi’s mask during ‘Jabab Maguchhi Odisha’ rally at Chow-field, Baripada, in Mayurbhanj district, . (PTI)

Stating that the “middleman” was also passing on crucial information related to defence, security and weapons procurement abroad, Modi said, “Perhaps, middlemen had more information than the prime minister himself.”

Moving over to the Rafale deal, the PM thanked Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for exposing the Grand Old Party’s role in putting at risk the security of the country through politics.

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Main desh ki Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman ko badhaai deta hun. Desh ki ankhon mein dhool jhonke walon ki niyat ko, desh ki suraksha se khilwaad karne walon ki rajneeti ko, apne manoranjan ke liye pavitr sansad ko istemaal karne walon ke bachpane ko, desh ke saamne ujagar kia (I would like to congratulate Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in exposing the role of the Congress in misleading the people, playing politics over the issue of national security and using the Parliament for their interests),” he said.

narendra modi, pm modi, modi in odisha, modi in jharkhand, rafale deal, agustawestland deal, chopper case, congress, rahul gandhi, farmers loan waiver
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das during the inauguration and foundation stone laying ceremony of six irrigation projects at Medininagar, in Palamu district, on Saturday. (PTI)

Asserting that Congress’ tirade against the government over the Rafale deal was “built on falsehoods” to “mislead the nation”, Sitharaman on Friday had told Parliament that the Bofors scandal brought down the Congress while the Rafale “decision in national interest” would return the Modi government to power.

In a “point-by-point” rebuttal to Opposition allegations of irregularities in the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft from France, Sitharaman had said the Ministry of Defence “has been functioning without dalals (middlemen) during five years of Modi”.

Earlier in the day, Modi took a dig at the Congress for “misleading” farmers in the name of loan waiver and said the party considered them merely a “vote bank”.

narendra modi, pm modi, modi in odisha, modi in jharkhand, rafale deal, agustawestland deal, chopper case, congress, rahul gandhi, farmers loan waiver
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hands over a key of a house to a beneficiary under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana as Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das looks on during the ceremony. (PTI)

While addressing a public gathering after inaugurating a slew of projects in Jharkhand’s Daltonganj, he said, “We consider farmers as the ‘annadata (provider of food)’, unlike the previous governments who considered them as a mere vote bank.”

“Earlier, the Congress government had forced farmers to borrow loans and today, they are misleading them with promises of loan waivers,” he added.

Continuing his tirade, Modi said, “Had I considered farmers as a vote bank, I could have waived their Rs one lakh loan…this (loan waiver) could have provided an immediate succour to farmers, but our priority is to provide them with facilities to boost their produce for doubling their income and this will help the farmers for generations.”

Taking a dig at the previous governments, he said they were least bothered about farmers’ welfare in the state and the delay in the completion of the Mandal dam project was a proof of that.

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The PM laid the foundation of several irrigation projects in Jharkhand, including the Rs 2,391.36-crore Koel Karo Mandal dam which will provide irrigation to a 19,604-hectare area in Jharkhand and also in parts of the neighbouring Bihar. He also laid the foundation stones for six projects at Chiyanki airport ground in Medininagar. Besides this, he handed over keys to five beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in Jharkhand.