New Delhi: Ahead of the second half of Parliament’s Budget Session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to portray his government as “pro-poor and pro-farmer”, lashing out at “perverted” critics for their “congenital habit” of working against the BJP.
Clearly seeking to shrug off Opposition charges that his government was “pro-corporate”, the PM told BJP MPs at a workshop that they should confidently communicate schemes and programmes unveiled by the Centre for the welfare of people. With BJP patriarch L.K. Advani and parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on the dais, Mr Modi, in his hour-long speech, listed initiatives in making toilets, pension, “beti bachao, beti padao” (save girl, educate girl), housing-for-all, besides the relaxation in the criteria for rainfall-hit farmers to get compensation which has been increased.
“How much lies are being spread! But you should have trust in people and tell them confidently about our programmes, talk heart-to-heart and they will laud you,” the PM told party MPs. He accused the government’s critics of having a “congenital habit” of working against the BJP.
Having faced a lot of criticism for being “silent” on the utterances of BJP MPs against the minorities, the PM specifically said, while taking about education for girls, that “they are the most deprived, and the country cannot progress if daughters of our Muslim families remain uneducated”. Similar is the case with dalits, OBCs and tribals, Mr Modi added.
Striking a combative posture amid the Congress attacks against his government on the land acquisition issue, Mr Modi listed efforts to curb corruption in MGNREGS, direct transfer of subsidies and the Jan Dhan scheme for the poor as measures intended to help them. “We are working to provide a house to everybody. Who are the people who do not have a house? Who will benefit from it? The rich? Are we doing it for the owner of some TV channel or newspaper? Are we going to build a house for Mukesh Ambani? Who are those people who don’t have houses?” the Prime Minister asked.
Mr Modi also claimed he was moving with a “dream” of providing all kinds of benefits for the poor. He added: “Do not weigh all our policies on the scale of politics, but the national interest.” The PM, however, refrained from speaking on the Land Acquisition Bill, but only made an oblique reference to it as he attacked “perverted minds” for wrongly projecting his speech in Bengaluru during the BJP national council meeting earlier this month.
Speaking about corruption, Mr Modi, without referring directly to late Rajiv Gandhi who had said that “out of Rs 1, only 15 paise reaches the people”, quipped: “You do not have to only do diagnosis, but treat the disease as well”. He also reacted to the Congress’ criticism against him for speaking about the “mess” left behind by the previous government during his just-concluded foreign tour, and said: “It has become a crime to speak against corruption. We are being mauled for that.”