Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday kicked off his election campaign in northeastern states, beginning from Arunachal Pradesh. While continuing with his ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) rhetoric in Arunachal, the PM in Assam said only a ‘chaiwala’ can understand the pain of fellow ‘chaiwalas’. Lok Sabha election 2019 LIVE Updates
In Arunachal, Modi lashed out at Opposition parties, claiming they were “disheartened” by India’s growth and success. Launching his campaign in Arunachal’s Aalo, the Prime Minister said the state is a “shield for the country with the people zealously guarding the border as sentinels.” He claimed that the Congress has the habit of taking people of the country for a ride, while saying that the grand old party is “synonymous with corruption”.
Arunachal will witness simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and the Assembly on April 11, while elections for 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam will be held in three phases on April 11, 18, 23. The results will be declared on May 23.
“When the country makes significant achievements, don’t you feel happy? Everyone, irrespective of their social and financial status, regales at India’s success stories. There are, however, some who feel disheartened by India’s growth and success,” Modi said.
“When India hit terrorists in their houses, what was the stand of opposition parties you have all seen. Even when our scientists made achievements, they found excuses to belittle them,” he said, urging the people to “punish” opposition parties in the upcoming elections.
In an indirect reference to China, the PM said: “Opposition speaks the languages of terror groups and even supported another neighbour when India was working hard to protect its territory.”
While listing his governments’ achievements, he also said that “in the northeast, the lotus first bloomed in Arunachal.” “Air connectivity projects have also gained momentum in the state under the NDA rule, with the construction of several Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) and airports. The deck for the ambitious Greenfield Airport project has been cleared,” he said.
He said that in last five years, he has visited the region for a record 30 times. He also said no other prime minister has done this in the past.
In Assam, Modi asserted that the NDA government is committed to the Assam Accord and mulling granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities in the state. The Assam Accord provides for deportation of all illegal immigrants who entered Assam after March 1971, irrespective of their religion. Modi was addressing the tea belt communities in Moran.
The Centre is trying its best to implement the Assam Accord that was suspended by the Congress, Modi said. “We have made efforts to protect the people of Assam, its culture and interests. The NDA is seriously considering granting ST status to six communities — Tai Ahom, Muttock, Moran, Chutiya, Koch Rajbongshis and the tea tribes,” he said.
Lashing out at the Congress for ignoring Assam, Modi said only 40 per cent homes had power and gas connections till several decades after independence. He said with the efforts of the BJP government, electricity and cooking fuel in almost every home.
“The way you have supported me blessed me, it has boosted my confidence to do better work for the underprivileged, poor and the tribal population. Barring the Congress and the terrorists, everybody is happy with the BJP government,” Modi said.
Modi also said that this ‘chaiwala’ is committed to improve the condition of the tea gardens and its people in both Assam and West Bengal. “The NDA government has taken initiatives to open bank accounts for tea garden workers. Lakhs of families in the tea belt have received Rs 5,000 as aid in two instalments, the government has also decided to provide free rice and two kilograms of sugar to four lakh families in the tea belt,” he said.
Later, while addressing a rally in Assam’s Gophur, Modi attacked the Congress family saying that they put the country on the line for the benefits of people like Ottavio Quattrocchi and Christian Michel who has recently been extradited to India in the Augusta Westland chopper case.