Buoyed by the success of the Bharatiya Janata Party in local body elections in Maharashtra and some other states after demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he was committed to root out corruption.
"Odisha, where there is so much poverty, starvation, unemployment and where the BJP did not even have foothold to place its flag, people have given so much support that everyone is taken aback...even the poor of Odisha have come with the BJP," Modi said at an election meeting in Gonda.
"Yesterday, Maharashtra gave its verdict and the Congress has been wiped off. Be it civic body polls in Odisha, Maharashtra, Chandigarh or panchayat polls in Gujarat, in three months wherever there were polls, whether the BJP had any presence or not, people used their third eye and ensured its victory. This means that my responsibility has increased," he said.
The BJP scored an emphatic win in the Maharashtra civic polls, emerging as the largest party in eight of the 10 municipal corporations, while finishing a close second to the Shiv Sena in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
Modi invoked Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri and said people, with their third eye, can see what is good for them and what is bad.
"...we do not get intoxicated by power. It gives us inspiration to work for the people with full dedication," he said, adding his fight against corruption and black money will continue and he will not allow those who had plundered the country for 70 years to go scot free.
Addressing the election meeting in the region close to Indo-Nepal border, Modi referred to the recent train tragedy in Kanpur and said findings showed it was a conspiracy and the conspirators carried it out sitting across the border.
"Kanpur rail accident in which hundreds were killed was a conspiracy and conspirators carried it out sitting across the border...Gonda is adjoining Nepal...if the cross-border foes want to carry out their work, is it not necessary that more vigil is maintained in Gonda?" Modi posed.
"Gonda needs to elect only those who are full of patriotism, only then we can do anything good for Gonda," he said.
"There should not be any mistake in these elections...be it the SP (Samajwadi Party) or the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party), not a single seat should go to them...100 per cent seats should be won by the BJP," Modi asserted.
Reaffirming his commitment to stamp out corruption, Modi said, "Since I took stern steps against corruption and banned notes, big forces are out to mislead the country. But, the poorest of the poor can detect the truth."
He took the opportunity to slam his bitter political foes Mulayam Singh Yadav of the SP and Mayawati of the BSP, saying his note ban decision forced them to come on the same page.
Referring to some problems which he said were unique to this region, Modi claimed tenders were floated to encourage adoption of wrong practices in examinations, like mass copying.
"In Gonda, even theft is carried out as a trade...tenders are floated for allotting examination centres...this is not good for anyone and this should be stopped...this auction of examination centres should be stopped," he said, adding he was afraid of speaking on this issue as it could give the idea to others to follow this trade of SP which needs to be stopped.
"Akhileshji your family has moved forward...you studied in Australia and your children are also studying in schools having huge fees but what will happen to the children of Gonda? Crime attached with education will spoil the coming generations," he said.
Referring to the 'PM Fasal Bima Yojna' introduced for the benefit of people, Modi said though BJP-ruled states like Chhattisgarh and Haryana have made 50 per cent achievement, only 14 per cent farmers got it in UP.
"Why is Akhileshji so angry with farmers? Don’t farmers have any place in socialism?" the PM said.
"Will those who do not realise your problems be able to help you in any way?" the prime minister asked the audience in his typical style.
"No" was the loud reply from the crowd.
The prime minister also attacked the opponents for seeking evidence for surgical strikes and politicising the issue of ‘one rank, one pension’ for ex-servicemen, saying it was like humiliating army personnel.
"They (the previous United Progressive Alliance government) had made a provision of Rs 500 crore while Rs 12,000 crore were required and army personnel helped us by agreeing to payments in instalments for implementing OROP," Modi said.
The prime minister said kesariya (saffron) holi will be celebrated in UP and the first decision by a BJP government will be loan waiver of farmers.
Modi also said a positive outcome for the BJP in the first four phases of UP polls was evident from the worry writ large on the chief minister’s face.