Ruling out scrapping reservation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made a veiled attack on Congress saying a “campaign of lies” has been let loose on the issue of dalits under a “deliberate conspiracy” to disintegrate the country.
“Earlier they tried to instigate farmers. That did not succeed…..now in the name of dalits, lies are being spread. Wherever they go, whenever they go, they utter lies. They repeat the lies on top of their voice. A campaign of lies has been let loose to mislead and fool dalits.
“It is a deliberate conspiracy to mislead people, make them fight against each other and to disintegrate the country. They are feeling frustrated because power has been taken away from them. They always believed that they (dalits) are their voters and now Modi is working for them. They fear what to do with Modi. They want to prevent dalits from backing Modi,” he said.
Though he did not name anyone, the Prime Minister’s attack appeared to be directed against Congress and its Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who recently made two trips to Hyderabad University to join protests over the suicide of a Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula.
On Saturday, Gandhi had accused Modi and RSS of trying to crush the spirit of students by imposing “one idea from the top”.
The public meeting was to kickstart BJP’s campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu but Modi concentrated on national issues and made no reference at all to the state politics.
He said the Opposition was worried over the NDA government taking several steps to highlight the achievements of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar.
Utilising the occasion, the Prime Minister said “lies are also being spread that Modi is going to take away reservation from Dalits, OBCs, oppressed and the depressed. Please listen to me carefully. Dalits should progress. I assure the nation that nobody can do away with reservation till the name of Dr B R Ambedkar remains alive.”
He listed various steps and initiatives taken by his government in commemoration of Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary.
Modi underlined that unity, harmony and peace were essential for the country to progress.
He also attacked the Congress over stalling Rajya Sabha saying ever since “a tea seller” came to power at the Centre, the opposition party has not been able to reconcile itself to the defeat and loss of power.
“In the last 19 months, there has been no corruption charge against anyone. No scam. They are worried ‘what can we do with Modi’. So they decided not to allow Rajya Sabha (to function). We will stall Modi. Several bills are pending there. What is this politics. Don’t damage the country,” he said in an apparent reference to the stalling of the GST bill by the Congress in the upper house.
The Prime minister said in Lok Sabha the government was able to carry out its business and pass bills. When they came to power, the government decided to scrap 1,800 antiquated laws which were for the benefit of poor.
Modi said the Lok Sabha has already scrapped 700 laws but they are pending in Rajya Sabha. What the Congress is doing is against the poor and deprived of the country.
He said the Lok Sabha has passed a bill to provide for higher bonus payment to poor labour but the Opposition did not allow it to be passed in the Rajya Sabha.
“But the government’s priority is to work for the welfare of dalits, backwards, the oppressed and the depressed. From our side, we will not spare any efforts,” Modi said.
He said that not a single day has passed since they came to power without a good initiative from the government in the interest of the poor.
Modi said steps like dedicating the first two days of the Winter Session of Parliament to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar and acquiring the latters house in London has rattled the Opposition as they thought the dalit community was their vote-bank.
He said the Opposition was blaming the government for any untoward incident against the dalits.
On the economic progress of the country, Modi said the government had put in place several reforms to push growth.
He said international bodies like the World Bank and IMF had projected India to be amongst the fastest growing large economy.
“Across the world, be it organisations like the World Bank or Credit agencies, if there is one country which they see as a brigh spot of growth it is India”, he said.
“Imagine how the situation was just two years ago,” he said adding it was marred by scams and scandals.
In the past one and a half year, however, every section of the people has now both faith and an expectation after the BJP-led NDA regime assumed power, Modi said.
He began his speech at the CODISSIA (Coimbatore District Small Industries Association) grounds here by saying “Vanakkam, Indru Kovaikku Vanthathil Magizhchi,” (greetings, I am happy to be here in Coimbatore today).
Modi arrived here after participating in an Ayruveda conclave in Kerala for his one-day Tamil Nadu visit.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the ESIC Medical College and Hospital here built at a cost of Rs.580 crore and handed over the new facility to the Tamil Nadu government.
Referring to the hospital handover to the state as a commitment of his government’s mantra of “cooperative federalism,” he said Tamil Nadu should act quickly to start the medical college hospital of 500 bed capacity.
“It reinforces my government’s commitment to cooperative federalism, I hope government of Tamil Nadu will act quickly to start the college,” he said.
Out of the 100 MBBS seats, 26 of these will be reserved for children of those under the ESIC coverage.
He asserted that his government was committed to the welfare of over 45 crore unorganised sector workers and referred to initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyothi Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana for their welfare.
As many as 44 labour laws will be simplified, amalgamated and brought forth as four Labour Codes, he said.
Union Ministers Bandaru Dattareya, Pon Radhakrishnan BJP National Secretary H Raja, State-unit party president Tamilisai Soundararajan were among those who attended the function and the public meeting.