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On Ambedkar Jayanti, PM Modi reaches out to farmers, tears into Congress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a scathing attack on the Congress, saying that the party that portrayed itself “as the messiah of the poor never actually did anything for the elimination of poverty”.
India TV Politics Desk April 14, 2016 17:41 IST
India TV Politics Desk

Mhow (MP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a scathing attack on the Congress, saying that the party that portrayed itself “as the messiah of the poor never actually did anything for the elimination of poverty”. PM Modi also charged the Congress for having “digressed from the values and principles of Dr Ambedkar”.

"Those who chanted slogans in the name of the poor...what did they do for the poor?" Modi said, in an apparent reference to the Congress party. 

The PM was addressing a public meeting to mark the launch of ‘Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday’ campaign on the 125th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar in Madhya Pradesh’s Mhow, Ambedkar’s birthplace.

The campaign will be conducted from Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on 14th April to ‘National Panchayati Raj Day’ on 24 April.

Read more: Poor honest; rich try to evade repaying loan: PM Modi

Modi, who paid tributes to Ambedkar, independent India’s first Law Minister and the architect of India’s Constitution, fretted over the lack of improvement in the lives of villages since independence during his address after the launch of the village self-governance campaign.

“After so many years of independence, the way the lives of our villages should have changed with the times - it is unfortunate that a lot is left to do. India cant progress with the progress of a handful of cities nor with the contribution of a few investors,” he said.

In a strong pitch for development of villages, Modi said that development efforts  need to be targetted at India’s villages. “We have to take the villages ahead for India's progress. All our development initiatives have to be centred around rural development,” Modi added.

Reaching out to the villages and rural India, Modi outlined the efforts of the ruling government towards poverty alleviation. “Jan Dhan Yojana did not only mean opening bank accounts. It got so many people in the economic mainstream. So many people voluntarily decided to give up their gas subsidy. Due to this the poor of India benefitted,” Modi said, adding the government’s budget was fully dedicated to villages and farmers.

Underlining the efforts required to uplift the poor, Modi noted that Panchayati Raj institutions in India need to be made stronger and more vibrant.

“We want farmer incomes to double. Purchasing power of people in rural India has to increase and this will power India’s economy,” he said.

Modi also lauded Babasaheb Ambedkar for his fight against injustice in society. “On his jayanti, I bow to the venerable Babasaheb Ambedkar. Jai Bhim. He is a ‘vishwa manav’ who devoted his life in service of the poor and marginalised,” the prime minister said on Twitter.

“He believed in the power of education. His economic vision was unique, with a strong emphasis on welfare of the farmer as well as the worker,” he added.

In rich praise for Ambedkar, Modi said that the credit for his rise to the post of PM goes to the leader. "If a man whose mother washed utensils during his childhood becomes the Prime Minister of India, the credit goes to Babasaheb," he said.

Attacking the Congress over its divisive politics, Modi said that those indulging in vote-bank politics never thought of anything except for dividing the society. "Some people are worried that why is Modi doing all this. It is a matter of our faith and conviction," he said referring to the Ambedkar memorial statue that the government is building.

"Governments came and went. Why is it that only we had the fortune of doing it?" Modi asked, in a jibe at the opposition parties. "When we are doing it today, you are hassled. You should regret why you didn't do it earlier," Modi said, before ending his address with chants of 'Jai Bhim'. 

(With agencies)