Economic Development must for progress of the country: Narendra Modi

Written by PTI | Ludhiana | Updated: Feb 24 2014, 02:50am hrs
ModiThe BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate took potshots at the Gandhi family and Congress for targeting other parties on corruption
Slamming the "delay" by UPA in granting 'one-rank, one-pension' for ex-servicemen, Narendra Modi today accused Congress of playing "fraud" with the armed forces and mocked Rahul Gandhi's pitch on fighting corruption.

Addressing a 'fateh' (victory) rally with leaders from the ally Shiromani Akali Dal on the dais, the Gujarat Chief Minister, who donned a saffron turban, also dismissed as "rumours and a pack of lies" the controversy about migration of Sikh farmers from Kutch region in his state, promising that no Sikh farmer will have to leave Gujarat.

He described the BJP-SAD alliance in Punjab as a symbol of Hindu-Sikh unity which has put to end the "Congress' game of divide and rule".

In his 30-minutes speech at a packed ground, Modi was unsparing in his attack on Congress and said the party was now throwing pepper instead of dust in the eyes of the people to befool them, a reference to the pepper spray incident in Lok Sabha involving an expelled Congress MP during the taking up of Telangana bill.

The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate took potshots at the Gandhi family and Congress for targeting other parties on corruption.

"I am surprised that the leader of Congress is now engaged in raising fingers on other political parties on the issue of corruption, when the entire ABCD has become the identity of the corruption of Congress. When Rajiv Gandhi was ruling the country as Prime Minister, there was no other party but only Congress, which was in power from Parliament to Panchayat.

"At that time he had said that when he sends a rupee from Delhi, only 15 paisas reach the village. What was this 'Panja' which used to rub the rupee (one rupee coin) and it would turn into 15 paisa," Modi said, vowing that if he is elected Prime Minister he will occupy the top seat as a "chowkidar" (warchman) and won't allow the 'Panja' (hand) to cast its shadow on the state treasury.

He hit out Congress on one-rank, one-pension issue.

After Rahul Gandhi's push, the government accepted the long-standing demand of ex-servicemen for 'one-rank, one-pension' and allocated Rs 500 crore for the fund a few days back. This decision is expected to benefit around 30 lakh retired personnel of the Armed forces.

Modi wondered why the government did not bring this proposal in previous budgets even as it was in power for last ten years.

"The government, which is sitting in Delhi has always been playing a farce with the Armed Forces. Before this also, a number of times, the Finance Minister of Congress had made announcements about One Rank One Pension (OROP) but never fulfilled it.

"Even this time since I am repeatedly talking about it, they have announced it but this is a "fraud" (dhokha) with you. Had Congress party been honest, they had the chance to it in 10 budgets from 2004 to 2014. But they did not do it," Modi said.

Maintaining that had the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee come to power in 2004, this would have been done, the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, "only our government will be able to implement it."

Modi also appeared to be reaching out to UPA ally National Conference as he mentioned Union Minister Farooq Abdullah among the leaders from whom he learnt how the administration is run.

"I worked with Bansi Lal, Parkash Singh Badal, Om Prakash Chautala, Farooq Abdullah and I saw how administration is run. What could I learn from Badal Sahab, helped me a lot in running the government in Gujarat. Being with these seniors helped me a lot in administration," he said.

National Conference was earlier with NDA while BJP is likely to have an alliance with Chautala's INLD this time as well.

Accusing Congress of cheating people, Modi said, "Now since they felt that you have become aware, they have engaged in throwing pepper in Parliament. Those, who used to throw dust are now throwing pepper so that people fail to see the sins and the bad governance of Congress."

On the issue of alleged displacement of Sikh farmers from Kutch region of Gujarat, he said that it was a false propaganda from certain elements.

"I assure that no Sikh farmer will be displaced from Kutch and Gujarat," he said amidst applause from the gathering.

"If any officer does anything wrong he will go but no Sikh farmer will be displaced from Gujarat," he said.

"The people who are misguiding on the issue are posing a threat to the country," he said adding that "the entire country is one".

He applauded that both Punjabis and Gujaratis are moving on the path of development and live together in many countries.

On the issue of SAD and BJP alliance, he said it is "troubling Congress as its policy of divide and rule had failed".

Professing his love for Punjab and its people, Modi said that music and food of the state is a favourite in Gujarat too and recalled how he had strived to build an earthquake ravaged Gurudwara in Lakhpat in Gujarat.

He also lashed out at Congress for allegedly forgetting freedom fighters liken Lala Lajpat Rai. "For Congress only Gandhi family is making sacrifices for the country," he said

He also lauded the contribution of Punjab in his endeavour to build statue of unity in Gujarat.

Holding that his only aim is development, he said before polls NDA is National Democratic Alliance but when in government it will be National Development Alliance.

The only aim of NDA is "development" of the country, he said.

The BJP leader, who was offered a 'turban' at the rally, said he will keep the sanctity of turban at all cost.

"My responsibility is to keep the respect of turban intact...I will fulfil the responsibility of tradition of sacrifice...the country will flourish and farmers will be satisfied," he said.

Holding that his only aim is development, Modi asserted that he would sit like a 'chowkidar' at the Centre if his party IS voted to power and will not allow anyone, including Congress' hand, to loot the coffers of the country.

"I have been given an opportunity...I am a sepoy...I assure you whatever responsibility you give me...I will sit as a chowkidar in Delhi and protect the coffers of the country,' he said at the rally in Malwa heartland of Punjab.

"A for Adarsh scam, B for Bofors scam and C for Coal scam. ABCD has become the identity of Congress' corrupt activities," he said.

In a bid to connect with farmers present on the occasion, Modi wearing a traditional Sikh turban said that there was a dire need to do value addition otherwise the beleaguered farming community of the country will be finished.

He also spoke of branding and marketing the produce of farmers so that the farmers get benefited.

Modi said that to save farmers from destruction, there is need to divide FCI into three parts - one taking responsibility of procurement, second to manage the foodgrains and third effective distribution of food produce.

He said that setting up of new warehouses and cold storage can play a significant role for the prosperity of farmers.

Modi also raked up the allegation that the government allowed wheat to rot and then sold it for liquor brewing instead of distributing it among farmers as directed by the Supreme Court some time back.

He laid emphasis on economic development for the progress of the country. "Three pillars - agriculture, manufacture and service sector - are key for the economic development of the country," he said.

He said that emphasis should be laid on tourism industry in the service sector. "India has the potential to attract three billion dollars through tourism in the service sector,' he added.

Modi said that another key area which need attention is to increase production per acre as land holdings are becoming small with growing families.

"Technology must be adopted in the agriculture sector," he said praising Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukbhir Badal as an ideal combination representing farmers and modern technology.

Expressing concern over inflow of drugs from across the border, Modi said that the jawans deployed at borders need to be made accountable if such activity takes place.

He accused Congress-led UPA of feigning ignorance on influx of drugs and fake currency from across the border.

Modi said the borders of the country need to be strengthened as it is the demand of the present time.

"We must not allow our youth to fall prey to drugs at any cost," he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Parkash Singh Badal said that the country today is facing both internal and external threats.

He stressed the need to wage a war against corruption, unemployment and poverty.

"Corruption and Congress are two sides of a single coin," he said adding that the only policy of he Congress is to divide and rule.

Badal said that every day China and Pakistan are posing a threat to the country.

He said that by sensing the political mood of the country, he can say that Modi will become the next PM of the country.

Badal called Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi a novice in politics. He also reiterated his demand for a federal structure with more powers to the state.

The SAD leader sought punishment for those responsible for 1984 riots.

The cases pertaining to 1984 must be put on fast track courts for speedy trial, Badal said.

He demanded that a sitting judge of SC must be asked to unravel the "conspiracy on the hand of foreign countries" in Operation Bluestar and 1984 riots.

He also said that the agriculture sector must have a separate budget on the lines of rail budget.