Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: ‘UPA govt left coffers empty, making it difficult for us’

“The UPA government had left us with empty coffers because of which it was not possible for the present government to do anything for the poor,” Shah said.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Vasundhara Raje, Scindia, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Dharmendra Pradhan, Petroleum minister for state, Anandiben Patel, Narendra Modi, Amit shah, UPA regime, LPG connections
BJP National President Amit Shah launched an attack on the Congress-led UPA government, accusing them of leaving behind an empty treasury at the end of their tenure. (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

At the mega launch of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana on Sunday, at the hands of BJP National President Amit Shah, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and her Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh counterparts Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Shivraj Singh Chouhan respectively, the leaders attacked the UPA government and hailed the visionary schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the poor.

Speaking at the event that saw the dignitaries lighting the customary lamp with a gas lighter to symbolize the importance of LPG connections in BPL homes, BJP National President Amit Shah launched an attack on the Congress-led UPA government, accusing them of leaving behind an empty treasury at the end of their tenure.

Shah said that the PMUY scheme is an example of how people benefit from a visionary government. He said, “This scheme is just one example how poor suffer when corrupt governments are in power and how they benefit from the vision of a sensitive Prime Minister. He understands the pain of these women who have to inhale this smoke that reduces their life span. It is because Modiji has himself seen his mother without LPG in his childhood.”

Shah said that the UPA government left behind empty government treasury that posed a challenge for the present NDA government. Shah said, “The UPA government emptied the treasury completely. It did not allow the present government to implement more schemes for the poor. But Modiji’s vision to ensure that the subsidies of LPG connections are disbursed to individual accounts has saved Rs1300cr. It has ended the corruption that was at its peak during the UPA regime. It has given the money to the poor into their bank accounts. The overwhelming response to the Give it Up campaign also ensured that today we are able to turn this dream into a reality of gifting women LPG connections in their homes.”

Shah added that the Ujjwala Yojana is a fine example of women empowerment that the Congress only spoke about. It cannot get bigger than this that you provide clean fuel for cooking and make lives of women healthier and easier. ” Shah said that every MP’s constituency will receive one lakh LPG connections under the schemes.

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, hailed the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his days as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, crediting the state for achieving 25% LPG consumption of the total fuel consumption aggregate, assuring that Gujarat will soon receive 25 lakh LPG connections for impoverished families. Speaking from the dais, Pradhan also addressed the issue of the steep fuel prices in India.

Pradhan said, “Everywhere I go, I am asked why the fuel is expensive in India although the global prices for crude oil have reduced. Just yesterday I was asked this question and I did not answer. But today, I want to give an answer. It is because this price difference is going into the government treasury to implement schemes like the Ujjwala Yojana. This is the money that will light up kitchens in many households with the LPG gas. Modiji is using the money from the treasury to give back to the poor through irrigation, gas subsidy, Jan Dhan Yojana and many other things. Close to 1 crore people have answered Modiji’s call to give up subsidy and help the government provide LPG connections to poor homes.”

In their respective speeches, the Chief Ministers enlisted the schemes for the poor, hailing the Modi-led NDA government for “working for the poor” and expressed their mutual admiration for each other. Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje hailed her Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chauhan for holding the spectacular Simhasta Mahakumb in Ujjain and expressed her excitement at heading to the event from Dahod. Vasundhara Raje spoke of a woman, Raghunathi, from Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, who represents many women awaiting LPG connections.

Raje said, “I personally requested (MoS) Pradhanji to provide Raghunathi with the LPG connection today, along with many other women from the three states and I am very happy that he conceded my request. This event is among the many examples of the BJP government’s intent to work for the poor.”

Attacking the Congress, Raje said that the party only remembered the poor during election campaigns but never implemented its fake promises despite being 60 years in power. Raje said, “The BJP and Congress are different because the Congress speaks of Garibi hatao during elections while we work for our intent to actually benefit the poor. Many years ago Rajiv Gandhi, who led the Congress party, said that only 15p out of Re 1 reaches the poor. Recently, Rahul Gandhi said that only 10p out of Rs 10 reaches the poor, today. That is the level of corruption in the Congress. The BJP, on the other hand, has given the subsidies back into accounts. The Congress leave promises which they know they can never fulfill and pushes them on the shoulders of the next government.”

Raje also urged people to “leave behind caste and religious differences” to rally behind Prime Minister Modi in making the government schemes successful in order for India to “attain its state that we have read of in our shastras”. Contrary to her plea, however, the event later saw women beneficiaries of PMUY being introduced on the stage by their religious and caste identities.

Raje also hailed vision of Modi as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and stated that several districts of Rajasthan have benefited from the Narmada river due to Modi’s vision. “I think Rajasthan, MP and Gujarat are conjoined triplets and we share a brotherhood that we stand with each other. Our districts have benefitted from Narmada due to Modiji and we always remember Gujarat when we see water there, today. We were thirsty in Rajasthan. I remember reading an article of an ngo in Dahod who resolved the water crisis here. I called him and took him to Rajasthan and whenever i look at the water bodies, I thank Gujarat for it.”

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who spoke at length about the Ujjain Mahakumbh also hailed Modi’s vision for the Narmada, stating that the water from the Narmada also flows into Kshipra River, where the Kumbh is currently ongoing. Chauhan said that the world has high expectations from Prime Minister Modi in difficult times today.

Thanking Gujarat for producing stalwart leaders, Chauhan said, “This is the holy land of Gujarat that has given us Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Narendra Modi. The world first listened to Mahatma. Today, if there is anyone they listen to, it is Narendra Modi. They see a hope in the leadership of Modiji.” Chauhan also evoked a message from Bhartiya Jan Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhayay for unification of communities.

Chauhan said, “Deendayal Upadhayay said he was unsure if going to temples, fasting for penance or singing prayers could actually please God. But he said that if you serve the poor, you will see the God in their eyes. The party and Modiji are doing just that.”

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First published on: 16-05-2016 at 11:12 IST