Targeting the UPA regime on national security issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, 22 April, said that his government took bold steps to counter terrorism, compared to the timid approach adopted by the Congress-led regime.
Modi's remarks at a poll rally in Nashik district of Maharashtra came a day after a terror attack in Sri Lanka killed 290 people in a series of blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in the island country.
The prime minister said that due to the bold approach adopted by his government, terrorism has been curbed in India and is confined only to some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi on the Congress Approach to Terrorism
Under attack from the Congress for not letting the Rafale contract go to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Modi accused the opposition party of destroying the state-run enterprise. The HAL has a unit in Nashik.
The prime minister said that his government has increased defence production under the 'Make in India' programme.
Campaigning for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance candidates from Nashik, Dindori and Dhule Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi said that the Lanka blasts had taken place on Easter when people were sharing the message of peace.
"“What was the condition in India before 2014? Bomb explosions would take place in corners of the country every now and then in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Jammu.”" - Narendra Modi
"What did the then Congress-NCP government do? Held condolence meetings, expressed grief. They went about crying in the world, saying Pakistan did this and that in our country," he said.
"“But what did your chowkidar do? Your chowkidar changed this timid approach of the Congress-NCP government.”" - Narendra Modi
In an apparent reference to the 2016 surgical strike and Balakot air strike carried out in February this year, Modi said that the security forces barged into the "factory of terror and cleaned everything without any discrimination".
Modi said that every terrorist is aware that "he (Modi) would trace him even if he is hiding in the netherworld." Without naming any leader from the opposition, Modi stated that "some experience electric current the moment I talk about dynasty and national security”.
He also said that the opposition was restless, given the response the BJP got in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha polls across the country.
“Working to End the Rule of Middlemen”
Addressing the rally in a region known for onion production, Modi claimed that his government was trying to increase onion storage capacity and reduce tax on their transportation.
He claimed that the Congress had tweaked crop prices to benefit middlemen. “I have fought a battle against these middlemen,” he added.
"Our government is working to end the rule of middlemen," Modi said.
Speaking at a poll rally at Nandurbar later, Modi accused the opposition parties of spreading rumours that reservations will be modified if he returns to power.
Modi stated that he would ensure that the quota quantum was not disturbed. "As long as Modi is here, nobody can touch reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar," he said.
Modi also assured people in tribal-dominated constituencies of north Maharashtra that his government would ensure that they not face eviction from their land.
"“As long as Modi is here, reservation for adivasis will not be removed. No one can lay a hand on your agricultural land that you are cultivating now.”" - Narendra Modi
The adivasis are currently struggling to hold on to their land, as some provisions of the Forest Rights Act are being challenged.
"“In Maharashtra alone, 1.25 crore farmers’ families are benefiting from Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Yojana. If voted to power again, we will remove the upper land holding limit of five acre. My government is also going to introduce a pension scheme for farmers in coming years.”" - Narendra Modi
North Maharashtra produces sugarcane which can be used for ethanol production, Modi said. He also claimed that while it would create jobs for locals, the Congress-NCP leaders had never allowed it to happen.
"These leaders used to get kickbacks for importing fuel. If fuel imports are reduced due to ethanol blending, they fear losing their income," Modi said.
“I Targeted Their (Congress’) Corruption”
Recalling that it was in Nandurbar that the Aadhar scheme was launched in 2010, Modi said that his government had ensured its wider impact. “But now, the Congress has approached the Supreme Court against Aadhar card,” he declared.
Funds meant for pregnant women and children were "looted" by Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh and were seized from residences of some of their leaders, he said.
"They (Congress) are unrelenting in abusing me as I targeted their corruption," Modi said.
The prime minister also attacked Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his alleged remark that those who don't get a square meal join the army and become jawans.
Modi said that according to Kumaraswamy, people who guard our borders are not children of the rich and join the armed forces because they don't have food to eat.
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