Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the meaning of development is not "chamak-damak", or glitter, but the empowerment of the poor, deprived and tribal communities. "The development does not mean only the chamak-damak. For us the development means the empowerment of the poor, Dalits, deprived, backwards, tribals, mothers and sisters," the prime minister said at a rally after inaugurating/laying foundation stone of projects worth Rs 1,774 crore at the Sampurnanand stadium here. "Today more than 600 families have got their houses in Varanasi," Modi, who was in his parliamentary constituency for the first time after the recent assembly elections, said. "Kashi has given me a chance to serve as MP...The citizens of Kashi have given a message that shortcuts do not help the country or people; some leaders can benefit from it," he said, taking a jibe at rivals. "In Varanasi, nothing had been done for decades. In 2014, people coming from outside used to question how things would improve here as there was too much disorder. In such a situation, it was very easy for some leaders to choose a shortcut, give this or that to the people. Their thinking could not go any further," Modi, who is second consecutive term MP from Varanasi, said hitting out at the opponents. "(They thought) why to work so hard. But I would praise the people of Varanasi who showed the right path," he said.
Earlier in the day, Modi also inaugurated a three-day seminar on the National Education Policy (NEP) here.
The prime minister said that the work should be done in such a way that not only corrects the present, but also benefits Varanasi's future for many decades.
In his inimitable style, he also asked the crowd whether the work that is being done is going to be useful in future also. "Will it be useful for the coming generations? Will it bring the whole of India to Kashi or not?" he asked the crowd. "Today we are seeing how the results come out when there is a long-term plan. Be it farmers, labourers or traders, everyone is benefiting from this. Business is growing, tourism is expanding," he said. The far-reaching thinking followed by the people of Banaras is now benefiting the entire region, he said.
"The development is progressive when the people of holy places connected with faith and spirituality are provided with modern facilities, when the poor get facilities like houses, electricity, water and toilets. From boatmen, weavers, handicraftsmen, street vendors to the homeless, everyone benefits, then development is sensitive," he said.
The inauguration and foundation laying of several projects here reflect dynamism, progressiveness and sensibility, and such an all-encompassing development is good governance, the PM stressed.
Elaborating on the development of his constituency, he said, "The festival of development which is going on in the 'divya' (divine), 'bhavya' (grand) and 'navya' (new) Kashi for the last eight years is being given momentum once again today. Kashi has always been alive and in constant flux. "Now Kashi has shown a picture to the whole country which has heritage as well as development. A legacy that continues to be made divine, grand and new," he said.
Referring to the resolve of keeping Kashi's Ganga clean, he said it should not be forgotten, and also took a promise from the people to keep Kashi clean. Modi also talked about the newly created Kashi-Viswanath Dham corridor which is winning praise. He said he was told that even during summer's heat, the corridor reported more than one lakh footfalls daily.
Earlier, the PM had inaugurated a kitchen of "Akshay Patra", which prepares midday meal for school children....