Targeting the UPA regime on national security issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said his government took bold steps to counter terrorism, compared to the timid approach adopted by the Congress-led regime.
Modi’s remarks at a poll rally here in Nashik district of Maharashtra came a day after a terror attack in Sri Lanka killed 290 people in a series of eight blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in the island country.
The Prime Minister said that due to the bold approach adopted by his government, terrorism has been curbed in India and is confined only to some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Under attack from the Congress for not letting the Rafale contract go to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Modi accused the opposition party of destroying the state-run enterprise.
The HAL has a unit in Nashik. The prime minister said his government has increased defence production under the ‘Make in India’ programme.
Campaigning for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance candidates from Nashik, Dindori and Dhule Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi said the Lanka blasts took place on Easter when people were sharing the message of peace.
“What was the condition in India before 2014? Bomb explosions would take place in corners of the country every now and then in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Jammu,” Modi said.
“What did the then Congress-NCP government do? Held condolence meeting, expressed grief. They went about crying in the world, saying Pakistan did this and that in our country,” he said.
“But what did your chowkidar do? Your chowkidar changed this timid approach of the Congress-NCP government,” Modi said.
In an apparent reference to the 2016 surgical strike and Balakot air strike carried out in February this year, Modi said the security forces barged into the “factory of terror and cleaned everything without any discrimination”.
Modi said every terrorist is aware that “Modi would trace him even if he is hiding in the netherworld.”
Without naming any leader from the opposition, Modi said “some” experience electric current the moment I talk about dynasty and national security. He said the opposition was restless given the response the BJP got in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha polls across the country.
Addressing the rally in a region known for onion production, Modi said his government is trying to increase onion storage capacity and reduce tax on their transportation.
He claimed that the Congress tweaked crop prices to benefit middlemen. “I have fought a battle against these middlemen,” he added. “Our government working to end the rule of middlemen,” Modi said.
Speaking at a poll rally at Nandurbar later, Modi said accused the opposition parties of spreading rumours that reservations will modified if he returns to power. Modi said he will ensure that the quota quantum is not disturbed.
“Till Modi is here, nobody can touch reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said.
Modi also assured people in the tribal dominated constituencies in north Maharashtra that his government will ensure they would not face eviction from their land. “As long as Modi is there, reservation for adivasis will not be removed. No one can lay hand on your agricultural land you are cultivating now,” he said.
The adivasis are currently struggling to keep their land with themselves as some provisions of the Forest Rights Act are being challenged. “In Maharashtra alone, 1.25 crore farmers’ families are benefiting from Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Yojana. If voted to power again, we will remove the upper land holding limit of five acre,” Modi said.
“My government is also going to introduce a pension scheme for farmers in coming years,” he said.
North Maharashtra produces sugarcane which can be used for ethanol production, Modi said. It will create jobs for locals but the Congress-NCP leaders never allowed it to happen, he said.
“These leaders used to get kickbacks for importing fuel. If fuel imports are reduced due to ethanol blending, they fear of losing their income,” Modi said.
Recalling that it was in Nandurbar that the Aadhar scheme was launched in 2010, Modi said his government ensured its wider impact. “But and now the Congress has approached the Supreme Court against Aadhar card,” he said.
Funds meant for pregnant women and children were “looted” by Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh and were seized from residences of some of their leaders, he said. “They (Congress) are unrelenting in abusing me as I targeted their corruption,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also attacked Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his alleged remark that those who don’t get a square meal join the army and become jawans.
Modi said that according to Kumaraswamy, people who guard our borders are not children of the rich and join the armed forces because they don’t have food to eat.