Hinting at continued action against political leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the recent crackdown on those alleged to have siphoned public money was “just the beginning”.
“Even those who could not be touched earlier have been made accountable (Woh bhi accountable ho gaye jinko kabhi koi haath nahin laga sakta tha). From Delhi to Mumbai, you know how this has been happening and who all they are,” Modi said at an election rally in the Pune, without naming anyone.
“In 2014 I had promised that I would bring them (the corrupt) to the doorstep of jail in the five years of my government. Now, in my second term, I have…,” he said, leaving his sentence incomplete as the crowd cheered.
“Tell me, has it happened or not? Is the new government taking action or not? We would recover all the money that was looted…,” he said.
“This (action against tainted) will not stop now. The money of the poor, earned through hard work and toil… would be recovered… I will not sit quietly till your hard-earned money is recovered,” he said.
In Delhi, former Home Minister P Chidambaram has been in custody for over 50 days in a CBI case alleging favourable treatment to a corporate media house. In Maharashtra, just ahead of the state elections, the Enforcement Directorate booked NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar, among several others, on money laundering charges related to a state cooperative bank. And just a couple of days ago, the ED has served a notice to their colleague, former Union minister Praful Patel, in a separate case, again on money laundering charges.
The Prime Minister also spoke of his government’s action on Article 370 as a major achievement. “Article 370 was a bottleneck for the last 70 years. We took the decision of abrogating Article 370 to bring in ‘one country, one Constitution’,” Modi said.
“There have been announcements in the past by others on abrogating Article 370 but no one ever took the decision. But why? This is not the first time that a government with a strong majority has come to power. This is also not the first time that a government has returned to power with full majority,” he said.
“The decision would bring in integration, inclusion, investment, industry and innovation in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” the Prime Minister said. “Once the new culture is established then there would be no scope for terror in the region. It has also brought a positive impact across the country,” Modi said.
Earlier, at another rally in Parali-Vaijanath in Beed district, the hometown of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, Modi said the Opposition had a “dejected (niraash) leadership” and the country did not want such leaders.
In between, Modi addressed another rally in Satara, which is witnessing a Lok Sabha bypoll as well, where he took a dig at the Congress-NCP leadership. Claiming that those who had “an evil eye on India’s territory” had been given a “befitting reply” by his government, Modi said Congress-NCP leaders had been raising questions over the martyrdom of soldiers.
“In last five years, the government has brought the armed forces on par with the world’s most powerful forces… modern weapons are now an integral part of India’s armed forces. For national security and integration, the government has taken decisions that were never taken earlier… When Congress-NCP leaders raise questions on the martyrdom of our jawans… when they object to the most advanced Rafale, the nation feels hurt. When they defame scrapping of Article 370 and revolutionaries like Veer Savarkar, people lose their cool,” he said.
He said Congress-NCP leaders were not able to understand the feelings of the people. “They were soundly defeated in the Lok Sabha elections. In Assembly elections, they will fare worse.”
Modi said Satara used to be the impregnable fort of NCP but now it was not even ready to contest from the seat. Instead, NCP asked Prithviravaj Chavan of the Congress to contest. “Chavan refused in view of the ground realities. He then asked Sharad Pawar to contest… But Sharadrao is Sharadrao, he knew in which direction the wind was blowing… It reveals the current state of the Congress-NCP,” Modi said.