Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hit out at the Congress, accusing it of working at the behest of middlemen during the UPA’s term and saying “some people want the chowkidaar removed at any cost”.
Addressing a rally in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, he praised Defence Minister Niramala Sitharaman’s speech during the Rafale debate in Parliament, before going on to attack the Congress, “They want to remove the chowkidaar at any cost. Whether it is a society, flat, factory or mohalla, thieves always first conspire to remove the chowkidaar… Thieves cannot tolerate a chowkidaar”.
Taking on the Congress over Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland case, he said, “They are also disturbed because their secrets are unraveling. One of his letters exposed how top Congress leaders and ministers were intimately known to him. He knew what happened every moment in the PMO, where each file went.”
“He (Michel) knew about the sittings of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and leaked the information to foreign countries. I cannot understand whether Congress ran a sarkaar or Michel Mama’s darbaar,” said Modi, assuring that the “law will spare no one”.
This is Modi’s second visit in less than a fortnight to Odisha, where the Assembly election is slated to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.
Encouraging the crowd to chant Vande Mataram with him, the PM said, “We have to do this because in our country some people have a problem even with this. The leader of the oldest party in the country tells me, ‘Modi, why do you greet crowds with chants of Bharat Mata?”
Continuing to target the Congress, the PM continued, “Look at the priority of the new government in Madhya Pradesh, which does not even have a majority. In a hung assembly, the Congress government aatey hi sabse pehle Vande Mataram par halla bol diya. Ek toofan mach gaya. Ab rasta khoj rahe hain bachne ka (The first thing they did was target Vande Mataram. That set off a storm. Now they are looking for ways to escape)”.
“The second thing they did was to cancel the pension for people fighting for democracy and against Emergency. But the BJP brought together all nationalists and they had to withdraw the order on Vande Mataram and now they will have to give out pensions to Emergency fighters,” he said, referring to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s decision to put on hold further payment of a monthly pension to those detained during the Emergency under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act and Defence of India Rules.
On the Odisha government, Modi said that there was no serious pursuit of women’s health, education, safety and livelihood. Referring to the seven-year-old case of rape and murder of a girl in Pipli that has put a senior state minister in the dock over the last few weeks, he requested the government to probe the matter seriously and send a strong message to perpetrators of heinous crimes against women.
Modi also called on the state government, which runs its own health assurance scheme, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, to join the Centre’s Ayushmaan Bharat.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated a number of infrastructure projects and passport seva kendras across Odisha. Citing the projects, estimated to be worth Rs 4,500 crore, the PM said the Central government believes in “sabka vikaas, tez vikaas, and sampoorna vikas”.