Ahead of the Assam Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, 20 March, addressed a rally in Assam’s Chabua, endorsing NDA and slamming the Congress for allegedly wanting to ruin the reputation of India’s tea.
Assam has several renowned tea estates, making it the world's largest tea-growing region by production.
On Saturday, PM Modi addressed two rallies – one in poll-bound Chabua and the other in West Bengal’s Kharagpur.
"“I was pained to see that Congress party, who ruled the country for 50-55 years, supports those who want to ruin the reputation of India’s tea. Will you forgive such a party? Should they be punished or not?”" - PM Modi in a rally in Chabua, AssamOn Toolkit
In a reference to the ‘toolkit’ – shared by international activist Greta Thunberg – whose earlier version reportedly carried a line which read, “Disrupt yoga and chai image of India in general”, PM Modi said, “A toolkit has been circulated that will defame Assam's tea and our yoga. Congress Party supports these toolkit makers & then has the audacity to ask for votes in Assam. Can we forgive them?”
The Congress Party has supported lakhs of farmers who have been protesting against the Centre’s contentious farm laws since September 2020. The farmers’ protest has gotten international support from celebrities, activists, and politicians.
The Congress has also promised that if they come to power, they will not allow the implementation of the controversial CAA/NRC, which sparked protests across the country by citizens who deemed the law ‘discriminatory against Muslims’ and furthering BJP’s ‘Hindutva agenda’.
Congress Defaming Assam
Slamming Congress on Saturday for trying to defame the reputation of Assam, Modi said, “Congress has gone very far from the people of Assam. A few days ago, they shared a photo from Sri Lanka and said it was Assam. A few days ago, they shared a photo from Taiwan and said it was Assam. It is injustice and (an) insult to our beautiful Assam.”
PM Modi, on Congress’s ally All India United Democratic Front, said, “Congress has joined hands with parties that are a danger to Assam's culture and heritage. Development of every region of Assam is a priority for the BJP government. We are committed to ensure that the culture and heritage of the state remains protected”.
PM Modi dismissed the party noting that it is only interested in “power grabbing”, and will ally with anyone to realise their ambitions. He added that the party has no respect for talent.
“It is the BJP government that will provide Assam with stability and security,” Modi said.
On BJP’s Plans for Development
PM Modi said that, “If a 'chaiwala' doesn't understand your problems, who will? I assure you that the NDA government will accelerate the efforts to further improve the quality of life for tea garden workers.”
Speaking about his party’s vision for an Atmanirbhar Bharat, Modi noted that Assam has an integral role to play in the same, and can become India’s organic hub. He added that the NDA government is committed to increase the wages of tea plantation workers.
“It can be an exporter of several organic foods, and not just tea. There are massive opportunities for production of organic fruits, vegetables and salads in this region,” said the PM, reiterating that this is how the government is empowering farmers who can export globally directly.
Speaking on higher education, Modi said the ruling BJP party has taken many steps to make Assam a “hub for higher education”. He stated that his government has set up many educational institutes to accomplish this.
In another dig at the Congress, Modi said that the party did not realise the potential of waterways which is Assam’s strength. He noted that the export is limited, and his government is working to strengthen inland waterways of the state.
He concluded his speech with ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
Elections for state assembly polls in Assam will take place in three phases - the first on 27 March, the second phase on 1 April and the third phase on 6 April.
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