Headlining celebrations of the BJP’s fourth year in power at the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday listed his government’s achievements and sought to link vote bank politics as the principal obstacle to development. Calling the last four years a victory for “vikaas, vishwaas and janta (development, trust and people)”, Modi said, “Mothers are freed from smoke in their kitchens due to Ujjwala Yojana. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has empowered girls. Mudra Yojana and Skill India help the youth of the country”.
Speaking in Cuttack, the prime minister said “vote bank politics” has ruined the country. “It forced governments to deliver benefits to select people, leaving behind Adivasis, Dalits and the poor without gas and electricity connections, roads, clean toilets and bank accounts. This was not sabka saath sabka vikas,” Modi said, adding that the Northeast did not fall for vote bank politics, which is why “it was ignored”.
Hitting out at the JD(S)-Congress coalition in Karnataka, where the BJP couldn’t form a government despite emerging as the single largest party, Modi said, “Those who think of family first and are sworn enemies have all come together. They have not come together to save the country, but to save themselves. Coalition governments are governments of confusion.”
“Because our government was ‘committed’ as opposed to ‘confused’, we could conduct surgical strikes, resolve One Rank One Pension, bring into force the Enemy Property Act. Also, defaulting and cheating companies have had to open their treasure chests. Our focus on JAM (Jandhaan, Aadhar and Mobile phones) has benefited the country,” he said.
While indicating the Odisha government for “misleading people on Mahanadi”, Modi refrained from any direct attacks on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the ruling Biju Janata Dal. “Odisha government has admitted in the legislative Assembly that the state loses more than half the Mahanadi water, which drains into the Bay of Bengal. Nitin Gadkari wrote to the Odisha government to resolve the matter amicably, but they took a step back,” he said.
The event was attended by Union ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan, Odisha BJP president Basant Panda, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra and state leaders K V Singh Deo and Biswabhushan Harichandan.
“What he said on Mahanadi is not based on facts”, said BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Keshari Deb. “In the PM’s one hour and fifteen minutes long speech, only three minutes were devoted to Odisha”.
Calling PM Modi’s speech a “huge disappointment”, OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik said, “There was no specific assurance from the PM that he will ask Chhattisgarh to release Mahanadi’s water for Odisha. He did not explain why 10 lakh youth have not been employed with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), as he had declared earlier. He did not explain why the gas pipeline meant for Paradip was diverted to Dhamra for the benefit of Adani”.