“Had Atal ji remained Prime Minister (for a second full term), this country would have have reached new heights,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister, speaking in light of the alliance announcement by SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati for Lok Sabha polls, targeted the ‘mahagathbandhan’ in the works to counter BJP in the upcoming general elections.
“Politics is practised on the basis of ideologies. Alliances are formed over a common vision. But this is the first time everyone is coming together against one person,” Modi said.
In his address that lasted over an hour, Modi covered a lot of ground, speaking on the recent 10 per cent reservation bill, farmers’ issues, government schemes and the agenda for 2019 elections. Here are ten key takeaways from the Prime Minister’s address:
– Minutes into his speech, Modi broached the much talked about bill for 10% reservation for economically weaker sections in government jobs and educational institutions. “It is going to boost the confidence of the people,” Modi said. “Many people don’t get opportunities due to poverty. This is my historical attempt to bring equality that continues the legacy of Dr Ambedkar.” Modi also mentioned that there will be a 10% increment in seat capacity in educational institutions to accommodate the new reserved class.
– Modi dived into farmer issues and recounted BJP government’s achievements in the agrarian sector, while accusing Congress of misleading farmers. “Earlier governments put farmer schemes into files but never implemented them. We implemented Swaminathan Commission recommendations and provided 1.5 times the input price as MSP,” Modi said.
– The Prime Minister, while listing the governments successes, also stressed that there was work to be done, demanding a second term. “I don’t say we have done everything and achieved all our aims. If everything was solved what would be the need to bring Modi back?” he said. Modi said the government had tried to make lives easier and give rights to the poor, oppressed communities and minorities.
– At BJP’s first executive without Vajpayee, Modi remembered the former Prime Minister in his address as well. “He must be looking at this assembly and feeling satisfied,” Modi said.
– The Prime Minister also drew clear battle lines for 2019 and said, “This battle is between people who believe in a sultanate and those who believe in the constitution.” Modi said leaders in the opposition only wanted to benefit their family members, but BJP believed in development for all.
– Modi also attacked the Congress for corruption, invoking past scams and said the grand old party had committed gross violation of the nation’s trust. “They can abuse me all they want and tell lies, but the ‘chowkidaar’ won’t stop. ‘Chowkidaar’ wont spare anyone,” Modi said.
– The Prime Minister also attacked political alliances forming against BJP for 2019 elections and questioned their motive. Earlier in the day, SP and BSP announced an alliance for the polls in a joint press conference. “They are coming to together to form a helpless government; we want a strong government,” Modi said. He went on to say the ‘gathbandhan’ (between the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party) in Telangana polls had failed and the alliance government in Karnataka was suffering. “In Karnataka, the chief Minister says he has been reduced to a clerk,” Modi said.
– Modi also countered the Congress’ accusations over old government schemes being rehashed and repackaged under the BJP rule and said he had never sought any fame for himself. “They say we have just changed the names of old schemes. I say we have not changed any names. SO many schools, hospitals, offices, airports are named after them. But I have not attached my name to any scheme, be it Jan Dhan Yojana or Ayushman Bharat,’ Modi said.
– Modi appeared to draw direct comparisons between himself and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, throwing the question over the kind of ‘servant’ the nation and its people wanted. “Do you want a ‘servant’ who takes three month long holidays or do you want a ‘servant’ who works day and night, 18 hours every day?” Modi asked the crowd at the meet.
– Toward the end of his address, Modi attempted to galvanise BJP workers ahead of Lok Sabha polls, invoking ‘Mera booth, sabse mazboot’. “It (the phrase) means just like a farmer sows his seeds at his farm, we must sow political seeds at every booth. We need to go everywhere and work hard,” he said.