Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday came down heavily on the Congress, comparing it with a sinking boat. Addressing a rally at Jalandhar in Punjab, Modi said, “Will Punjab even think of getting into a sinking boat, which has nothing to offer.” Punjab elections will be held on February 4.
The prime minister went on to add that the grand-old party is in shambles, citing the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance to make his point. “The Congress was touring Uttar Pradesh for months. It raised slogans against the SP. Then they sensed a fracture, they immediately seized the opportunity,” said Modi, as he called the party a thing of the past. “The party is on its death bed,” he added.
During his address, Modi also raised topics like One Rank One Pension for defence personnel, Indus water, the Army’s surgical strikes, and the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
He claimed that his government has resolved the OROP issue. “They [Congress] had kept it hanging for 48 years.” Although the Centre had reinstated the OROP scheme in September 2015, and had formally notified it for more than 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country on November 8, 2015, Army veterans had said that the government’s version had “seven serious shortcomings”. Ex-service personnel have held several major protests and hunger strikes demanding that their recommendations be included.
Regarding the Indus Waters Treaty, Modi said, “India alone has the right over the Indus river. We shall bring it back to Punjab.” According to the accord, India controls Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan holds reign over Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. The Indus Waters Treaty became a bone of contention after relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated in recent months.
The prime minister also called Punjab the crown of India. He said families in Punjab were the most elated with the news of surgical strikes along the Line of Control in September last year. “Punjab is the land of sacrifice and bravery,” he added.
Speaking about demonetisation, the prime minister again hit out at the Congress and other parties. He said people who had robbed the country for 70 years were the ones who were the most affected by the demonetisation move. Modi added that he has been facing a lot of flak for the last three months, but that he does “not bow down to criticism.”
Although Modi did not formally announce incumbent chief minister Parkash Singh Badal as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate, he did shower praise on him. “Punjab wants to see Parkash Singh Badal as the CM again, he has always worked for Punjab,” said Modi. Punjab will have its polls for all 117 Assembly seats on February 4 while the counting will take place on March 11.