Congress hatred for middle class not new: PM Modi

election rally here. Assuring that the NDA government would always serve the middle class, Mr. Modi said, \"we have kept prices under check.\"

Coimbatore: BJP leader and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the Congress "hatred" for the middle class was not new in the backdrop of the "philosopher and guide of the Congress President (alluding to P Chidambaram again)" belittling the middle class. "The Recounting Minister says with arrogance why middle class is worried about price rise," the Prime Minister recalled at an election rally here.

Assuring that the NDA government would always serve the middle class, Mr. Modi said, "we have kept prices under check." Another boon to the middle class was loans up to Rs. one crore for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) were being sanctioned in just 59 minutes, "which is much shorter than the time you reach Chennai (by flight from Coimbatore)." The 'Mudra' and 'Start-Up India' schemes were all for empowering the middle class, he underscored.

Referring to the new Income Tax concessions in the BJP government's Interim budget, Mr Modi said he would ensure that the "hard earned money of the middle class is devoted to the empowerment of India" and not for the vote-bank of the Congress party.

Taking his argument further, Mr Modi also drew upon the specter of higher taxes on the middle class, levied by Congress and its allies, leading to "destroy your tradition." Charging that in next door Kerala, the Congress and Communists were already "destroying tradition" as seen in their response to the Sabarimala temple issue, Mr. Modi said BJP will not be found wanting to protect people's faith.

On the large number of small and medium industries including textiles and power-looms facing problems in Coimbatore region, the Prime Minister said, "your chowkidar will not let you down." The BJP was open to their suggestions to resolve their problems and it would simplify the GST further, he assured, adding, "we understand the importance of the textile sector."

Mr. Modi pointed out that the NDA regime had given subsidies to the tune of Rs.7,000 crore in the last five years including for weavers, better marketing, new machinery and upgrading power-looms. Of the 32 lakh power-looms upgraded, 60 per cent are from Tamil Nadu, he added.

Extolling that "time has come for women-led development", Mr Modi again chastised the Congress and DMK for being "anti-women parties". The DMK "is a deeply patriarchic party", he said and reminded of how some of its leaders had spoken derogatorily of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

Mr. Modi also hit out at the way the then UF government at the Centre and the DMK in Tamil Nadu had handled the serial blasts in Coimbatore in February 1998, which was a "deadly terror attack". "Today India is different and anyone who dares to attack India will get the same response; we will pay them back in their own coin, with compound interest," Mr. Modi said, adverting to how the NDA had given "topmost priority" to national security and strategic interests.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy CM, O. Pannerselvam, TMC leader G K Vasan, BJP's Coimbatore candidate C P Radhakrishnan, and other alliance party functionaries were present.

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