Hitting campaign trail in poll-bound Uttarakhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a frontal attack on the ruling Congress government in the state, accusing it of lacking vision for growth even though the state has great potential in tourism and allied sector. Drawing comparison with neighboring states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, Modi said, “Have you ever thought why despite having such great potential Uttarakhand has lagged behind Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand which were created together by Atal Bihari Vajpayee? In spite of the Maoist problem, Chattisgargh with a BJP government has established itself among the fastest growing states”.
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Addressing a poll rally at the GITI Maidan in Shrinagar, the Prime Minister urged the people to vote overwhelmingly in support of BJP this time to drive it on the path of development. PM Modi also revealed that he has grand plans to tap the state’s tourism potential and herbal wealth to attract visitors from all over the world to its doorsteps.
“New employment opportunities can be generated in tourism, yoga and herbal sectors and the exodus of young people from villages in the hills can be stopped thoroughly. It is not impossible. What is needed is a vision, a sense of purpose,” Modi said, while expressing his interest in laying a railway network in the hills.
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Slamming Chief Minister Harish Rawat, Modi said, “The present chief minister had opposed creation of Uttarakhand. His party is in now alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh at whose behest women were raped and people shot dead at Rampur Tiraha during the statehood agitation. “Even in Uttarakhand Congress and SP have a secret alliance. Would you vote for them?” he asked.
Hitting back at Congress for criticising him for demonitisation, Modi said the step had robbed the party of its sleep.”It is three months since demonitisation happened but they are still abusing me. Don’t you think I should make those who have looted this country ruthlessly for the 70 years pay back.
“I won’t sit relaxed until I have made them do so. I have waged a war against corruption and black money for the sake of the poor and nothing can make me step back. I am ready to face anything for the sake of the country’s poor,” he said.
Addressing his last poll rally in Pithoragarh ahead of the February 15 election, PM Modi vowed that he will not rest till those who looted the country paid back. He criticised Congress once again, accusing it of “looting the country for 70 years” and insisted that the grand old party’s days are numbered. “Those who have looted the country for 70 years, their days are gone now, they have to return everything,” Modi said.
He attacked Congress for “insulting” the armed forces by questioning the surgical strikes, “sleeping” over OROP for 40 years and for “indulging” in corruption.
In a bid to woo the substantial defence voters–estimated at around 30 percent of the electorate, Modi said the central government has increased funds being allotted to the armed personnel, adding that the step has benefited them and their families immensely. Modi also accused the Congress of insulting the armed forces by earmarking a mere Rs 500 crore for One Rank One Pension during its rule.
In an apparent reference to demonetisation, Modi also said that he would not sit peacefully till he finishes all works and neither will he let the “robbers” to sit peacefully.
Urging people to vote out the “tainted” Congress government, Modi accused the ruling government of the state of sullying “devbhoomi’s” image into a “lootbhoomi” and ruining the state because of its lack of vision.
Rahul Gandhi’s road show in Haridwar, hits back at BJP over corruption issue
Ahead of the elections, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday held a 75-km roadshow in Haridwar and hit back at BJP on the issue of corruption. He asked why PM Modi gave tickets to tainted leaders thrown out of Congress and took the “trash” into his party. “Modiji has no right to talk about corruption. All scam tainted leaders who were earlier with us are now with BJP,” Rahul said at a public meeting in Puhana after starting his roadshow from Bhagwanpur in Haridwar district.
The Gandhi scion also said that he had informed Chief Minister Harish Rawat to make sure that he doesn’t allow corruption and that he should put pressure on those indulging in corruption. He also criticised Modi for his raincoat barb against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and also for “misleading” people in the name of demonetisation.
Interestingly, Rahul’s roadshow witnessed scores of BJP supporters waving party’s saffron-green flag with image of lotus along the route taken by the Congress Vice President. Acknowledging their presence, Rahul said, “my BJP friends have also come to listen to me. I welcome them from my heart. They have come here today to greet me.”
Modi engineered defection, then lodged case against me: Rawat
Addressing a public meeting in Gopeshwar to garner support for Congress nominee Rajendra Bhandari, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat accused the Centre of engineering defections in the state before lodging a case against him. “My house was burgled and as if that was not enough a case was also lodged against me,” he said, questioning the Narendra Modi government’s sense of justice.
Rawat also reminded his electorate that he rebuilt a state ravaged by the catastrophic flashfloods and put things back on track.