Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took on the Congress for not doing anything for the people in the years that it was in power, ANI reported. The prime minister was addressing a rally in Odisha’s Cuttack city to mark the fourth anniversary of his government.
“It is important to remember the problems the nation was facing four years ago, the atmosphere four years ago,” Modi said. “It is important to remember how much the family, which ruled the nation for 48 years, cared for it.”
He said that the National Democratic Alliance government had won people’s confidence in the past four years by implementing pro-people policies. “Chaos was caused for some when we made strict laws against black money,” Modi claimed. “It made many come together and stand on the same stage, those accused in big scams are coming together now.”
Citing his government’s achievements, Modi said that till 2014 only 39% of the population had access to sanitation facilities. “Today the figure is over 80%,” he claimed. Between 1947 and 2014, six crore toilets were built in the country, the prime minister claimed, “but in last four years 7.5 crore toilets have been made”.
During his tenure, the time required to receive a passport has been reduced, and the process of filing income tax returns have been simplified and expedited, Modi claimed. “The time needed to register a company has also been reduced,” he said. “The registrations of 2.26 lakh dubious firms have been stopped.”
The prime minister said that development and good governance make for good politics. Criticising the Congress, he asked why the Opposition party had never stressed on pro-poor policies. “Why did not the Congress realise that the poor are not being entertained at banks?” Modi asked. “Why did not the Congress ever see that the lives of poor people also hold value and they also need life insurance?”
Modi said that his government has never hesitated in setting tough goals such as ensuring a home for every poor person in the country by 2022, and doubling the income of farmers by then.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister tweeted that for the government “it is always India first”. The government has taken “futuristic and people-friendly decisions that are laying the foundations of a New India”, he said.
“I bow to my fellow citizens for their unwavering faith in our government,” the prime minister said. “This support and affection is the biggest source of motivation and strength for the entire government. We will continue to serve the people of India with the same vigour and dedication.”
What progress, asks Opposition
Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to mock the NDA government’s performance, alleging that Modi struggles while dealing with complex matters and has a short attention span. He gave the government the ‘F’ grade in agriculture, foreign policy, job creation and for failing to rein in rising fuel prices.
The Congress accused the ruling party of not fulfilling the promises it made to voters and marked the day as “the day of betrayal”, NDTV reported. The party released a a booklet titled Betrayal, pointing out that the agriculture sector had been in a downward spiral in the past four years as farmers had not been given the minimum support price for their produce.
“These four years can be defined in four terms – treachery, trickery, revenge and lies. Hence, India is betrayed,” the party’s spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said. “After spending Rs 4,600 crore on insurmountable advertisements, Prime Minister Modi is on a perpetual campaign, but refuses to understand people’s pain.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the four years of BJP rule had seen an unprecedented assault on India as a country and the livelihood of our people. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav also listed the failures of the Modi government and said that this would be its last year.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said that the countdown to the Modi government’s end had started. The government, he alleged, had destroyed agriculture, industries and harmony in the society.
Senior members of the BJP, however, refuted the Opposition’s allegations. Union minister Arun Jaitley said the government has provided “scam-free” governance, transforming it to a “bright spot” on global stage. “Ten years of the UPA rule had unquestionably witnessed the most corrupt government since independence,” Jaitley said. “PM Narendra Modi created transparent systems through legislative and institutional changes which have given our country a scam-free governance.”
BJP President Amit Shah said that even if Opposition parties came together ahead of the 2019 General Elections, it would make no difference to the NDA, IANS reported. “Mamata [Banerjee], Akhilesh [Yadav] , Mayawati, Sharad Pawar and Rahul [Gandhi]...they all fought against us,” Shah said. “They are the main opponents in their state. Others do not matter there.”