Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the BJP’s campaign from Uttar Pradesh with a blistering attack on the opposition while keeping the focus on a strong government, saying his administration had shown the courage to conduct a surgical strike in all spheres land, sky and space.
The contest is between “a decisive government and an indecisive past”, Modi said at the BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally in this western Uttar Pradesh town a day after announcing that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite.
He said the country’s 130 crore people had made up their mind that the NDA would return to power.
“…India has made up its mind who to vote for…For proof, see a large number of people attending this rally,” he said amid loud applause from the gathering.
Calling himself the nation’s ‘chowkidar’, Modi said, “It was this chowkidar’s government that had the courage to conduct surgical strikes on land, sky and space. India should develop, India should be secure from enemies.”
The country is, for the first time, witnessing a government that knows how to deliver, he said.
The Prime Minister, who launched the BJP’s campaign from Meerut in 2014 too, said he will bring justice to all.
The contest this time will be between “dumdaar BJP and daagdaar opposition”, he said, driving home his point that his party is strong but opposition parties are tainted.
“In the days to come, I’ll not only put forward NDA’s report card, but also ask the Opposition why they had failed earlier. On the one hand, there is strong development. On the other, there is a lack of vision,” he said.
Modi told the gathering that he would give an account of the work done by his government and of what others had done, or didn’t.
“When I had sought your blessings five years ago, I had said I’ll return it with interest and I will present a report card of my work. I also said I’ll seek a report card of what work was done in the 60 years before that,” Modi said.
Taking a swipe at the Congress’ minimum income scheme, ‘Nyay’, Modi said, “People who couldn’t open bank accounts are now saying that they will directly transfer money to the poor. What will they possibly do?”
He also hit out at the party for ‘garibi hatao’ (abolish poverty), a slogan popularised by the late Indira Gandhi in 1971.
“I have been hearing about ‘garibi hatao’ since I was a child…generations have passed… they kept progressing but the poor became poorer…seeing that the Congress has betrayed the poor, the poor of the country have already resolved that remove Congress and poverty will itself be removed,” the prime minister said.
Modi paid tribute to Choudhary Charan Singh, former prime minister and father of RLD leader Ajit Singh who has aligned with the BSP and the SP in this election.
“In 1857, it was here in Meerut that the revolt against the British had begun. Chaudhury Charan Singh is a true son of the soil. He worked all his life for the betterment of the people,” he said.
He also hit out at the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party alliance, calling it ‘mahamilawat’ (adulterated). The first letters of the three parties stand for ‘sarab’ (the Hindi word for liquor is ‘sharab’), which is bad for health, he said.
“Under these ‘mahamilawati’ group of leaders, did you see how terrorists flourished…Did you not see incidents of terror from across the country under their rule?” he asked
The BSP and the SP had now shaken hands, he said, adding that the ‘bua-bhatija’ (aunt-nephew) team of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had showed the voters that their slogan for the elections is, “UP ko looto bari bari (rob UP turn by turn)”.
Modi also attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi on his mocking tweet congratulating him on World Theatre Day on Wednesday and said, “You all saw how India created history yesterday by achieving a feat in space to ensure we emerge stronger globally and to ensure our safety. But see the kind of funny things people in the opposition have been saying.”
“It is both worrying and funny… what do you say about someone who does not even know the difference between a theatre set and ASAT (anti-satellite)?” he said.
Playing on the words ‘saboot’ and ‘sapoot’, the Hindi words for proof and good son, he attacked the opposition for seeking evidence of the surgical strike. “Do we need ‘saboot’ or sapoot… those who seek evidence are challenging the sapoot.”
The Prime Minister began his address saying the upcoming general elections are about the people’s dreams, aspirations and expectations.
Meerut is among the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh that will head for voting in the first phase on April 11.