The PM asked MPs to remember his government’s objective was to increase the purchasing power of villagers
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government was dedicated to the welfare of the poor and farmers.
Speaking at a training workshop for Bharatiya Janata Party members of Parliament, he asked them to take this message to the people.
Taking a swipe at the media, Modi said there were some with a ‘janmajaat’ or ‘congenital habit’ of criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party and lies were being spread about the land Bill by ‘perverted minds’.
Modi addressed party MPs at the G M C Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament House Complex, barely an hour before Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was to speak at a farmers’ rally at the Ramlila Ground, barely five km away.
Rahul was expected to devote his speech on the land issue and paint the Modi government as ‘pro-big business’, which he eventually did.
Modi, as he did in his speech at the BJP's national executive meeting earlier this month in Bengaluru, spoke at length about his government's pro-poor and pro-farmer policies.
He said the government has a vision of providing schools and hospitals to villages.
“The housing scheme we have introduced is for the poor, not for Mukesh Ambani,” said Modi.
Both Gandhi and Modi’s speeches come a day before the Lok Sabha reconvenes on Monday, while the Rajya Sabha is to meet on Thursday.
The government will need Parliament’s approval for its re-promulgated land bill, even as most opposition parties are now rallied against the ordinance.
At the workshop, Garib Kalyan Yojnayein and the role of the MP, organised in association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated training institute, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, the PM said there were people with a ‘perverted mindset’ spreading lies about the initiatives of his government, including the land ordinance.
He asked his MPs to connect directly with the people. He said people have become used to watching colour television, that is corruption-free governance, and forgotten the days of ‘black and white television’.
“You (BJP MPs) will need to remind them of the difference.”
The PM mocked former PM Rajiv Gandhi, but without naming him.
He said ‘somebody’ had said how only 15 paisa of the one rupee sent from the Centre reached the intended beneficiaries.
The PM said the job of a leader isn’t only to ‘diagnose’ disease, but to treat it. Modi asked the MPs to unearth the corruption in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and see that the liquefied petroleum gas subsidy going directly to the bank accounts opened as part of the Jan Dhan Yojana had reduced leakages.
The PM asked MPs to remember his government’s objective was to increase the purchasing power of villagers, which in turn will contribute to the economic development of cities.
The PM recounted his government's achievements in reducing inflation, relief for farmers affected by unseasonal rain, relaxing procurement norms, Jan-Dhan Yojana, Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, and toilets for all.
He said the US President, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have said India's was the fastest growing economy.
He lauded the external affairs ministry, led by Sushma Swaraj and her minister of state, General V K Singh, for the successful evacuation of citizens from Yemen.
Modi also claimed his recent visits to France and Canada achieved what no previous government could -- in getting technology for nuclear reactors from France or Canada promising to supply uranium to India for the next five years.
“Hold your head high, be confident and tell the people what we are doing for them. . . All decisions I am taking are for the welfare of the poor,” he said.
Image: A labourer pushes a hand cart loaded with sacks of rice at a wholesale market in Kolkata. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters