BALASORE, Odisha: Attacking Congress’ “gareebi hatao” slogan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said though intention of those who gave the slogan may have been good, the path they chose for delivering the promise was wrong.
Addressing a rally in this coastal Odisha town on completion of two years of his government, he called for ‘balanced’ development in the country and wondered why the eastern belt had remained backward despite being generously bestowed with natural resources.
Pitching for development of Odisha, eastern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Assam, Modi said his government was committed to the welfare of the poor people who would be at the centre of all schemes.
Questioning former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s ‘gareebi hatao’ slogan, he said, “We have for the last 60 years heard the slogan of ‘gareebi hatao’. I do not doubt the intention of those who gave this slogan. The intention may have been good but the path they chose to eradicate poverty was certainly wrong because poverty, unemployment and disease grew.”
He said governments are not for the rich, but the poor and they should work towards fighting poverty. Till the time scientific solutions to the problems are found, poverty will not be eradicated, he said.
“I had said that my government is dedicated to the welfare of poor people in the country. When I said this, my purpose was that no state or area should be left behind in development. There should be a balanced development and everyone should benefit from it…
“Governments are not for the rich but for the poor and should work for them. The poor should be at the centre of all government schemes,” he said.
During his almost hour-long speech, Modi welcomed public scrutiny of governments and said it was his responsibility to give an account of the work being done and every penny spent, unlike the governments in the past that never came forward with any such account.
On the issues of poverty and backwardness in the eastern belt, he said, “What is the reason that the eastern belt has not seen development? Why should the people from these areas migrate to western states for jobs? These states have been blessed with natural resources. You have the sea and the coal reserve and God has bestowed the resources on you generously.
But then why are you still poor?”
The Prime Minister said, “The government seeks to develop the eastern part of the country. All our schemes are targeted towards the poor and we are giving priority to the development of these states.”
Modi said all BJP-ruled states were developing faster than other states.
“Being a BJP worker, my only mantra is development. We see development in all BJP-ruled states. But where BJP is not there you can see what is happening, like in Odisha.
“BJP’s objective is development. BJP is the other name for development. If we have to eradicate poverty, unemployment and bring about a change in life, we need development. It is the solution to all the problems,” he said.
Attacking Congress governments, Modi said, “Previous governments thought they were good to the country. But we have seen the results. We believe in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.”
He said the poor need the government’s help in healthcare, education and other needs and schemes initiated by the Centre are aimed at empowering the poor so that they can work with the government as partners to fight and remove poverty.
Modi also took a dig at his opponents, saying the ‘shahs’ sitting in air-conditioned rooms in Delhi worry so much about the country 24 hours a day least realizing how the people have turned up in such large numbers in this ‘missile city’ (Balasore) to hear him despite the hot weather.
He said they have come only because of love and affection for him even when there is no election, agitation or demand and this gave him strength to serve them better.
Presenting an account of the works done by his government, the Prime Minister said, “I am happy that before the people of Odisha, the country’s ‘pradhan sevak’ is presenting an account of the works done. Did governments in the past come here to give an account. In the past 70 years has any government given such an account. When election comes, they would come with sops.
“We want to bring such a culture where governments and leaders are accountable and governments give an account of every minute and every pie. That is why I am in your midst to give an account. I am not giving it sitting in Delhi. This is not a celebration, but a responsibility.”
Modi said the blessing of the people will help give him renewed vigor to work even harder and serve the people better to ensure that their dreams are fulfilled.
He listed various schemes initiated by his government in the past two years for welfare of every section in the society.
“When it comes to gender equality, though we are living in 21st century many people have a mindset that prevailed in the 18th century. It must change,” he said as he referred to ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme. He also lauded girls for their achievement in various examinations. Modi also asked the people of Odisha to bring about a political change.
“You can look at the condition of states where BJP is yet to get a foothold,” he said, apparently taking a dig at the Naveen Patnaik government.–PTI