Virtually picking up from where he had left off in Cuttack a day earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mounted a scathing attack on the Congress Sunday, saying the party that has “worshipped only one family cannot worship democracy”.
“Unke liye unka parivaar hi desh hai, aur mere liye desh hi mera parivaar hai (For them their family is their country, while for me the country is my family), Modi said in Baghpat in western Uttar Pradesh, where he inaugurated the 135-km greenfield Eastern Peripheral Expressway.
The Congress, Modi said, had no faith in democracy and constitutional institutions, referring to the move to bring an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India. “We have recently seen how they put the faith in the country’s highest court in danger. The country has seen that they have suspected the Election Commission, EVMs, the even the RBI and its policy,” he said.
Speaking on what was the first day of the final year of his government, the Prime Minister seemed to be firmly in election campaign mode. “You can gauge the speed of our government’s work by this: in 10 years, the Congress could connect only 59 panchayats with optic fibre network. We have connected 1 lakh panchayats in just four years,” he said. The Congress, he said, had lost its bearings seeing the kind of development that his government was bringing.
In an apparent reference to opposition parties coming together against the BJP, Modi asked people to assess carefully those who stood on the two sides of the political divide. “You must see carefully what kind of people are there on the other side and who are there on this side,” he said.
Speaking in Cuttack on Saturday, Modi had said that votebank politics had ruined the country, and that those who were sworn enemies had come together to save themselves.
The Congress was anti-poor, the PM said in Baghpat Sunday, and four years of development under the BJP was giving the party sleepless nights, so it was resorting to lies. “Now they are spreading a new lie that if farmers give their land on contract farming, the government will charge them 18 per cent GST. The party that did not learn from its defeat in elections is spreading so many lies and misleading the farmers,” he said.
The Congress was also spreading falsehoods about the government’s initiatives for Dalits, tribals and minorities “even at the cost of creating unrest in the country”, Modi alleged. He said special courts were being set up for the speedy disposal of cases related to atrocities against Dalits and tribals, the government had strengthened laws against atrocities on Dalits and tribals by adding 22 more crimes to the list of atrocities, and it had developed five places related to Babasaheb Ambedkar as panch-peeth (pilgrimage centres).
“Those who have opportunism in their hearts have only shed crocodile tears (for Dalits). They have always done politics of populism and not the politics of welfare for Dalits and tribals,” he said. He alleged that his government’s move to give constitutional status to the OBC Commission was being stalled in Parliament. “They are stalling it. I promise you, I will get it done.”
“They find development a joke… sanitation a joke… building toilets for women of our country a joke… opening bank accounts for women a joke… Only those with anti-poor mentality can find jokes in all these issues,” he said.
With neighbouring Kairana scheduled to vote on Monday, Modi praised the law and order situation in UP under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “No developmental work can take place in an atmosphere of insecurity. I want to congratulate the popular CM Yogi ji, that under his leadership, all criminals are surrendering to police and swearing that they will not commit crimes any more,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the government was sympathetic towards the problems of the sugarcane farmers of the area, and was “working tirelessly” to address them. “We have decided to give Rs 5.5 extra per quintal to sugar mills. But the money won’t go to the mill owners. I know what kind of game used to happen over money (meant for sugarcane farmers,” he said. “That is why we have decided that the money will now go straight into the bank accounts of farmers,” he said.
A sugarcane farmer protesting non-payment of dues by sugar mills and an increase in rural power tariff died in Baghpat on Saturday.