Addressing a well-attended rally in Saharanpur on Thursday to mark the completion of two years of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to showcase the government as accountable, pro-poor and clean, contrasting this with what he termed as the corruption and misgovernance of the UPA.
“Exactly at this time two years ago we were taking the oath of office. From the Red Fort I had said that I am your ‘Pradhan Sevak’ (prime servant) and I will remain in service of the 125-crore people of India. After two years, I am here to give hisab (account) to the people,” Mr. Modi told an enthusiastic crowd.
“I was shocked at the extent of corruption done by the previous governments. At that time, corruption used to be the only thing in the newspapers and news channels,” Mr. Modi said, attacking the UPA government.
He added, in his typical conversational style, “In past two years, have you heard of my government being accused of corruption?” The crowd responded with a resounding “No!”
“This country is changing but some people’s mindset is not changing,” he said, tacitly targeting the opposition.
He claimed that he welcomed greater scrutiny of his government: “Whatever I do is always under scrutiny and I welcome that. The government should be accountable to the public every second, for every rupee.”
He sought to underline the initiatives of his government that aimed at improving the lives of common people. “We have given special emphasis on improving water and electricity supply,” the Prime Minister said.
Speaking in the sugarcane belt of western Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Modi said the priority his government was to double the income of farmers by 2026.
“Merely throwing crumbs at farmers is not our way of working. We are trying to solve the problems the farmers face,” he said.
Modi spoke on women’s issues, showcasing the Centre’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme to improve the sex ratio and educate the girl child. “If India’s girl child is not empowered, how can the nation be empowered?” Mr. Modi asked.
He suggested that doctors in the country treat poor women for free on the ninth day of every month.
He also announced that the Union Cabinet would raise the retirement age of doctors working with the State as well as Central governments to 65.
While Mr. Modi steered clear of criticising the Akhilesh Yadav government in the State that goes to polls next year, he said that as a former Chief Minister, he believed in putting money in the hands of States.
Speaking before Mr. Modi, however, Home Minister Rajnath Singh was clear in his appeal, invoking Lord Ram to exhort the people to vote the BJP back to power. “Even Lord Ram’s vanvas [banishment] was not more than 14 years. I appeal the people to end our vanvas and vote us back to power in U.P.,” Mr. Singh, a former Chief Minister of U.P., said. (Courtesy The Hindu)