Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the central government had electrified all 18,000 villages that did not have power connections, reported IANS. Speaking with the beneficiaries of the government’s rural electrification scheme in New Delhi, Modi said, “We walked the talk and went to every village. We not only focussed on electrification but also reformed the distribution systems across the country.”

A village is said to be electrified if at least 10% of its households, as well as public places such as schools, panchayat offices and health centres, have access to electricity.

Modi criticised earlier governments for not doing enough to electrify every village, saying the current government had fulfilled the promise he made on August 15, 2015, of bringing electricity to every village.

Among those Modi spoke to were people from Leisang village in Manipur, which was the last of the villages to be electrified. He also talked with residents from Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

Modi said about 14,500 of the 18,000 villages not electrified fell in the eastern region. “We have changed that. Eastern India can play an even bigger role in India’s development journey,” he added.

The Congress hit back soon, saying Modi was making “tall claims”. It also asked why the Bharatiya Janta Party was denying the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government credit.

In April, the government announced that all villages in the country had been electrified. Under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, it had identified 18,452 villages to be electrified, back in 2015.